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A north wind outsings summer, shocks
leaves into freefall, blackens herbs,
reminds our rescued dog that once
she made her way on ditch water,
careless mice, and spilled trash;
dug leaf beds deep enough that wind
and rain and people didn’t find her.
Only her collapse made it possible
to loop a leash, shoot her with antibiotics,
label her unadoptable, and pass her
from shelter to shelter, far away
from the family that left her
on a country road, where they hoped
someone would take her home.
Today, after a woods walk, Sylvie zooms
the yard, a breath away from snagging
the chipmunk who stumbled out from
under a brick and flashed across the yard.
She’s a hackle and haste hunter, but the chipmunk
dives into a hole. We call her, but she stares
into the wind, feral Sylvie back on the road.
Copyright 2022 Maryfrances Wagner
Maryfrances Wagner is the Poet Laureate of Missouri. Her collections of poetry include The Immigrants’ New Camera (Spartan Press, 2018).