Cool air, downed leaves
we ran the trail fast, bike led by dogs
led by the elusive scent of possibility.
A small bird, one wing not working right,
stumbled across the trail in front of us.
The dogs got there first.
Fauna, the wild one, scooped him up
gently in her mouth,
his foot twitching, his belly white
with soft down. On command
she dropped him, then scooped him again
in her mouth, cradled on her pink tongue
though he lay still. Once again
she dropped him, and he twitched
lightly but made no other effort
to escape. I laid the bike down
and held him in my hands—dark, soft
as he pushed tentatively against my hands
with his small beak. Dark head, he seemed
alert now, so I let him go
under a tree
hopefully to recover. The dogs—
so uncommonly good—stayed with the bike
and by some miracle didn’t drag it into the ditch
bending cogs, but instead
waited for their treat
not so restless now, though like me
they cannot sit still
on these days when the trees don their
[bare limbs reaching
and frost waits for us
in hidden pockets of shade.
September 26, 2008