Thursday, January 18, 2007


We followed the trail from rusted wheelbarrow around sequoia
Past shrugging rhodys on to the broken foundation
Where we found the scurried consideration of a foray into the trench.
"Nothing of interest there" decided,
Prints doubled back and up to the brick wall where
Paws would have found a break from the icy cold
A balance beam run and down onto the sidewalk
Leading under the shelter of some haphazardly piled concrete. A new den?
We peeked in expecting pinpoint eyes to peek back.
Prints instead continued out the other side,
Five-toes neatly indenting the whiteness
Crisscrossing another track left by delicate hooves
Both steering off into the neighbor's trees.
Now I understand the circuitous route my dog's nose follows.

In fifty years of living without garbage service,
Kids raised, fruit trees planted and neglected,
Secret parties held, fences built and torn down
Gravel worn away and replaced
It's not surprising we've uncovered artifacts in the dirt here
Both treasures and trash-
A pair of blue glass marbles, a doubling die
A single fish earring and countless blackened tin can lids
The upturned clothes drying rack grown over with blackberries
An occasional coin.
I much prefer the evidence animals leave behind.

Our large footprints made clumsy trails beside the coyote's
Running alongside the woodpile.
I'm relieved tomorrow's thaw will wipe ours clean
But reluctant to lose the reminder of how busy the other residents are
Investigating this little acre of the world.

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