Walking With Jake at Twilight

We walk beneath the dreams
Of ash trees that line our street,
Each tree oblivious to
An armada of ash borers
Forty-five miles to the east.

Brown bats that live
In the column of our deck
unwrap their wings
As they exit their nest.
Toward midnight
Great horned owls
Will be calling across roof tops.

The constellations begin
Their nightly swirl above us.
It is too soon for crickets.
Too soon for the ashes to leaf.
The only thing blooming:
Three daffodils
Waiting for a table.

Jake is earnest as thief
About this walk
That will not be complete
Without seeing a rabbit
Eating the early shoots
Of spring.

He lifts his right paw
And locks on his target.
Eventually I see
A soft, ragged form
Near the safety of a drain pipe
That flattens itself
In winter’s detritus.

Jake strains at the leash.
With each second he leans
Into air that smells of rabbit,
Then looks at me
as if he could speak:
It is so close.
Don’t you see it?

I do see it, but
I tell him to Let it go.
I understand his yearning
For the hunt and the mysterious,
But for a second time I say,
Let it go Jake,
As if to remind us both
That we are tethered
To something beyond our reach.

–Terry Pettit

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