Mountain Lion Near Tennessee Valley

  1. At first it seemed to be a dog or deer,
  2. but was bullish, big, too much a-saunter,
  3. tawny, muscling a ridge
  4. it took in easy strides. It stood—
  5. terse shape on dense blue air—
  6. flicking, dream or superhero sized.
  7. No mistaking now its panther stance
  8. on the wet mountain.
  9. Its gaze held our full advantage.
  10. We waited for a moment, barely breathing,
  11. sensing it as both real and legend,
  12. awed & also reaching for rocks
  13. as if that would make a difference if it wanted us,
  14. which it seemed not to. But
  15. chatter shifted as
  16. our landscape became undomesticated,
  17. escarp re-opening as vast
  18. range for fear that was also pleasure
  19. in being watched by such a creature
  20. who could harm & did not care for us
  21. and who elided into thicket, gliding
  22. down the ridge we clambered up
  23. making our frail deliberate noise,
  24. signaling our odd human presence.