The wayward poem goes where it will,
yanking me in unknown directions,
snuffling its big wet nose
where I fear to tread.

I yell for it to stop, but it
runs on down the lines
before I can catch a breath,
chasing rabbit thoughts
to dubious conclusion.

Where did I lose control?
Should I send it to obedience school?
Teach it to heel and do tricks
like other poems do,
fetch the paper and sit
faithfully by my side.
But I know too well
it would rather run free,
fur flying, with
tricks of its own.
Play dead Lazarus
back from the grave.
Pretend it’s a being
of pure form.
Or imagine it’s
a hot tiny particle—
where are you, Spot?—
expanding into a universe.

Who am I kidding?
I will follow
wherever it takes me
through dusky forests
of forgotten memory
and beyond.
Maybe someday I
will learn its tricks.
For now all I can do
is watch in wonder
as the master
races through the trees
snuffling the dead leaves,
breathing them into life.
Then off it goes
howling in ecstasy.
I track its prints
in the damp earth.
But all I find
are its droppings
fresh on the trail,
as if left to remind me
how I came to this last line.