By Tacit Agreement, Sunday at the Sensiba Trail

We do not speak of the outside world –

we whistle at the sun nosing around

the fraying stratus clouds,

lifting and dropping

golden rays that splash our ankles and

the winter-dead grasses –

we call out to our dogs

sniffing one another in turn,

then exuberantly rolling in the dead carp

that the bald eagle has dropped.

We ask each other, on the other ends of leashes,

what breed of dog they are, and how old,

and if there are kids running ahead

or lagging behind, they shout out random bits

of information, like what they’re having

for dinner or about the mitten they dropped

somewhere in between the car and you.

The woman cradling the camera and

walking slightly behind the man with the cane

smiles at me as I kneel down to frame up

a pussy willow branch struck against

a ragged patch of blue sky; she says

Spring is coming, and I feel in my bones

that it’s true, that its grace is sufficient

but too late, too late for us –

in a moment it will burst into green flame

and lie like a shroud upon the brow of this fevered world.

Unleashed (A Sonnet)

First winter snow has tripped and falls and falls,

I lace my boots and take my sheltered lens;

Behind me, windows throw a yellow pall

of slanted patches on white-trousered lawns;

Snow stills the trees and fills the prints of those

who walked ahead along the unlit road;

We will not meet, my pace unhurried slows –

four paws and to his right the man who strode;

Since nothing tells the story of the leash

that bound the dog to man and back again,

I break the plane, the unseen line I breach – 

No sound it makes, the freedom I pretend;

my shutter quiet here above the snow –

belated, now I walk this road alone.