Above this agnostic ground, the dark rises
from the floor of the pines and it comes down
from branches as a mist after unsensational rain.
There’s a squall and sycamore leaves louver open.
Bobcats know the proportion of dry to wet spaces.
And this one is all paws and impatience, pacing off
provisional shelter under the trees. He pads before
unbraiding a dinner rabbit. Clouds across a blue
moon near an ocean can be a human face, Threat,
and still subordinate to the next meal. In one version
of the life of this cat, eyes saucer at machine sounds
on the best route of escape. Again, he falls to work—
maybe the natal den is a cave and springtime kittens
off New Jersey 539, but a rabbit in the mouth is worth
two driven from cover elsewhere. By a log the needles
are thin, tensile arms. Hilled and dry enough for now.
Roy Bentley was born in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of four books and several chapbooks. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review and elsewhere—recently, in the anthologies New Poetry from the Midwest and Every River on Earth. He has received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA (in poetry), as well as fellowships from the arts councils of Ohio and Florida. These days, he makes his home in Pataskala, Ohio.