If you come home your nightgown hem awash with dew,
you must have been dancing with the alpha wolf,
clinging to the wool of his collar, your paw
buried in the silk of his shoulder, your ankle
heeling to his rhythms as your heart nearly bursts,
striding, finding your place in his midnight pack.
If you return besplattered with morning mist,
you must have been running with the Spanish stallion,
through blue bonnets sprinkled over the desert floor,
genuflecting knee-deep in the holy water of the russet canyons,
your hooves echoing above the arroyos,
leading the flash flood sluices into the driest of gullies.
If you re-enter your cottage with your dress
drenched to the armpits by a voracity of rain,
you must have been stalking with the king cougar,
hunched on a tree branch above the deer migration path,
your well-muscled haunches exhorting the raindrops,
as you await your prey, two catamounts out on a limb.
If you slither through your screen door
slathered in sleet by the proximity of desire,
you must have been cavorting with the cave bear,
growling at his steely eyes, his perfect hair,
pad-footing through the icy cavern, frost
coating your eyelids as your fur slowly evolves.
But if you shiver in the doorway, your snowy hair
seriously adraggle, you must have been careening
again, marathoning through that man’s experience,
stretching from noon to the winter’s fiery zenith,
carried away again by his exhilaration, mashed
to the frozen floor by the fluctuations of his nature.
Bob McAfee is a retired software consultant who lives with his wife near Boston. It is a long way from math degrees (Rollins and Emory) and a computer science degree from UNC Chapel Hill to the person who has written over 700 poems in the last twenty-five years. For several years he made an hour train commute to and from Boston and developed the habit of writing in that fixed time. He continues to try to write two hours every day. He has recently published two books of verse and a book of limericks and nonsense rhymes. A fourth book is simmering on the burner, due out in early 2020. His style is eclectic, but his goal is producing poems with both fierceness and a reluctant sense of optimism.