For Orca
By Julie Shannon

yellow-rimmed eyes in a sea
of black and white Pacific Northwest
Puget Sound fur for years
he warmed my husband's bed

the casual cowboy interloper
leapt and bounded, swaggered his
rolling cowboy gait, bowlegged and
battle-scarred terrific trolling terror
of the furred forest feral creatures

sharp of claw and sight he seldom played
slept stacked on hip or chest resting in
an uneasy peace kept with canine
confederates negotiating nothing he took
our hearts in tiny pieces towering over us
in his timid way King of comfort he held
his court in unassuming assurance

and left us in the afternoon
slipping out into sunshine
having survived syringe and saline
seven months of cajoling
kindness coaxing with chicken comforting
the cat who cared for us

his wild plain is crossed with ferns and fallen trees
a forest swallowing sign, subjugating our search
to hopeless despair we sing into the night
and day Come on home little cowboy
but he just fades away

August 1, 2002

Julie is the founder of One Woman's Press and often runs workshops and classes at A Writer's Wood or the Blue Heron Art Center on Vashon. She is the author of the collection Waking on Water as well as one of the creative content editors at VashonCam.


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