Northern New Mexico
On red moon’s night,
I pull you from a poem.
Bobcat that you are,
tawny hunter,
hard as I try to write you in,
coyote, rattler and you
fight the scene.

Next day, uninvited,
you appear at noon
for real.
I startle you asleep
in juniper’s shade.
You stretch, unfazed,
strut behind a boulder,
and re-settle under
low-hanging boughs.

Like a sphinx,
paws curled under you,
you watch me watching you,
save for tufted owl-like ears
flicking aside no-see-ums.
I love your fearless,
iconic posture,
stout limbs,
stubby battle-hardened tail
of eons ago.

I try to explain
why I deleted you
the day before.
Your lemon-drop eyes
seem to say I really wasn’t
right for the part.
Too contemplative
for the predator in me.

High desert’s sun boils,
but I squat to your level,
ten feet away,
to promise I’ll cast you
in the next poem.
It’s called Cat & Moon.
Your tail,
what’s left of it,
twitches at the thought.

Dick Altman writes at 7,000 feet on New Mexico’s high desert plain. His work appears widely here and abroad. A winner in Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of published poetry, Voices in the Heart of Stones and Telling the Broken Sky.