Incantation for a Vanished Visitor

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Whose hand unleashed the hex that sent
you speeding from this soil’s silt & shine,

from birch light & oak light & sweet gum & maple?
What chorus of creatures called you elsewhere,

extending your range so our alley’s off your patrol,
nights no longer brimful of bark & yip, the good

news of your gekkering? These days rabbits
wheel free in their warrens, Norway rats

gad about. Where are you now
with that dentition designed to grip prey,

skulking low to the ground, furtive & feline
along ragged trails & truncated streams,

all haze & hurry in switch grasss, little bluestem,
wild rye? As the sky turns auburn & ochre & dusky

merlot, accept this entreaty, summons, appeal—
I’ll offer the little I have in my quiver,

silver powder, crow feather & cracked runestone.
From the varied meadow remember the winter

our deck was your den. May your kin travel
safe beneath the perishing air, the twitchy bough.