Two hours after cricket song
I wake in a tangle of damp sheets,
the moon alarming me.
I slip on shoes and move naked into the forest,
the murmur of the river below me,
the plaintive cry of the lost and lonely before me,
his feet rustling the tinder grass of high summer,
now approaching, now evading my soft whistle on the night air,
then two tiger eyes shine and I kneel and cradle him to my breast.
Rising, hours after, a feline tattoo of red traces head, body, and tail
Across my chest in the fiery gift of the oak’s cousin.