Only I saw the bobcat
dart across the trail in front of us.
Jeff was looking up through the trees.

Only I saw the animal
spring loose as though propelled by God's slingshot.
Fast as an idea,

the initial desire of divorce,
that once it entered my mother's mind
changed the way she smiled in pictures.

Fast as the truck that killed
Matt on an Arizona interstate.
Fast as clarity can arrive

and then escape through the brush.


The cat's perfection:
the skin stretched tight (but when at rest
hangs as lazy as an empty handbag).

Its leg a trigger.
Its bones the sure gears of articulated industrial robots.
The slits of its eyes like stealth bombers against full moons.

The cat's perfection,
a contrast to I don't know
and poetry.


Jeff was looking up through the trees,

and only I saw the bobcat.
The laws of motion,
which escape me now,

arrived to me then
           as fast as—
                      as fast—