For the Last Catamount

The round, descending
eye of fire narrows down
the gunsight valley.
A hawk hangs perfectly still,
then sheers toward the river.

Day-heavy, lazing
on a warming rock, the gold
head of teeth and thick-
lidded opals shifts, yawning
under the sun’s attentions.

Her paws go soft now.
She dozes. Skirling blackflies
and the quick water’s
reassuring purl meld to
a rustle of parting growth.

She recognizes
what can only be summoned
in dreams: his likeness
driven from and nearing her.
He stands in wait by the trees.

Night and hunger, one
being, will fall soon enough,
patiently hunting
the mouth of the river to
follow the valley upstream.

She wakens without
expectation. Water, kill,
sleep, the passing light—
the labors of a daily
birth, in a world of endings.