Lake Tonto

I press my ear against the earth

for the usual reasons: to fathom

ant scrabble, the sibilance of suckling

roots, the stoic decomposition

of underlying stones, groundwater abiding.


Also that I might discern what follows me,

or that might by me be followed in turn,

and maybe the weather in profound silence

communicating its intent

via the humlessness of its wireless net.


In fact it is the old dog who hears,

despite her failing ears, and who is,

somehow, far more attuned to the earth

than I will ever be:  my sidekick,

my sin, my moral heart, my Jim.


Eventually I roll onto my back

and study through the treetops the immobility

of a cloud a hundred miles wide,

while the dog paws at the duff and unearths a bone,

upon which her gnaw sounds like someone walking.


By which I am made again to see,

that even that which I imagine she enacts,

and we stay in that place a long time,

waiting, until sleep comes down on me

and turns to blindfold what had been just a mask.