Dark night and she’s not home
scrambling for her pan of kibble,
her dollop of fishy feasting.
Others, having sat patiently
at doorways, eat gratefully
pans scraping, a meow now
then. But it’s like this and so
we don’t worry too much
after calling her over and over,
hands cupped to mouths sending
voices into dense pastures. We
walk the barbed wire fence
bordering the next farm where the
solitary horse grazes away his days.
No people, no children, just pond
and sky and oh yes, a tiny tortoise
shell kitten who’s taken to talking
to him, following him across acres
on their mutual adventures.
The big quarter horse knows how
to amuse her as she bounds from
hill to rutted track and she shares
all the farmhouse secrets:
the number of field mice dragged
under the truck, the length of red
worms sliding from the garden that
she pretends are enormous snakes.
Not quite the saddle and gallop of old
but in return for secrets he hides
her in his swaying shadow when the
hawk screes overhead, walks her home
as owls search night shadows. We know
the direction she’ll come from so we keep
the light on until she paws the door to
come in, having finished her job
of telling the horse goodnight.