In Bear Countryby Penelope Moffet
Maya the matriarch, German shepherd
with a bit of wolf; Taiya the goofy
golden retriever named after a local river;
Seemuk the caramel rottweiler mix
whose pale dots of eyebrows seem to signal
diffidence. The pack. Of which I,
Catwoman, am now part, have become
Throws-Sticks-In-The-Creek, servant and
(in my dreams) alphadog. In whom a whistle
has been wakened, weak warble all my own,
distinct at least from other local singers,
robin and thrush, raven and bald eagle.
I bleat it when I change direction
and eventually they follow from wherever
up the road or trail they’ve gone,
stern and regal Maya, river-cruising Taiya,
skirmishing Seemuk named after a waterfall
who never risks fast currents. The pack.
Companions, guides, scouts and protectors,
explorers of the circuitous route
that always gets us out.
* * * * *
Penelope Moffet is the author of It Isn’t That They Mean to Kill You (Arroyo Seco Press, 2018) and Keeping Still (Dorland Mountain Arts, 1995). Her poems have been published in Gleam, One, Natural Bridge, Permafrost, Pearl, The Rise Up Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Verse-Virtual, The Missouri Review and other literary journals, as well as in several anthologies, including Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles (Tia Chucha Press, 2016) and California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology (Story Street Press, 2020).