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Fall 1999

Wild Lit


     by Brenda Gunn

Kiana and I climbed the mountain today behind our house.
Drawn up the steep ravine by autumn sun, to the fire road along the ridge. Golden leaves from maple and birch mixed with the reds and purples of poison oak, fallen embers on an earthen hearth. I soak up the last warmth around me, taste sweetness on the air.

Kiana sees her first, the fox's disguise an uncanny stillness. She lies in the middle of the road, sunning herself. Bold.

She rises slowly before she springs across the road, spins around. Heading straight for me, last minute veer under brush falling down. A distempered jerk where the sun hits the ground. She lays there panting, hard, all her energy spent in that one mad dash to through off the hound. She should be up a tree, down a hole.

I could simply reach out and touch. Frozen, we form a triangle - the fox, the dog and me.

Eyes so steady, above pounding chest. She appears to have no fear. Nor hate. It is not easy to face the fox, even as she looks at me. She does so fixedly, freed from the obviousness of the world that drills and drums at me all hours of the day. Our gazes are locked: primal, predator, prey.

Silence seems to echo down to present time, gives me a shake. Not yet, not us.

     Brenda Gunn is an artist and poet residing in west Marin County. She is on the Board of Directors of the Marin Poetry Center, has read her poetry to local audiences and has been published in local poetry newsletters. Kiana, the dog, and Brenda frequent the hiking trails of Marin and live as much as they can in the great out-of-doors.

© 1999 by Brenda Gunn. Reprinted by permission.

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