I push your wheelchair up the hill
behind the nursing home to the palo verde's lacy shade.
You help lock the brakes, I settle on the curb, and we sit,
talking quietly – almost like the lovers we were
before the stroke blossomed through your brain, its branches snaking deep,
snuffing neurons, dimming your bright youthful mind,
leaving your left side limp dead weight.
As we fall silent, wrapped in the Rincon mountain vista
and memories of shared hikes and backcountry trips,
a lanky form with black tufted ear tips and stubby tail
emerges from the urban trash-entangled desert, prickly pears festooned
in grocery bags, gravel strewn with old carpet pieces,
fast-food cups, a discarded pail.
Ambling across the driveway, some hapless rodent swinging
inertly from its jowls, the regal bobcat doesn't deign to look our way.
It strolls between parked cars, then nestles in among the lantana,
its blotches blending into the building's drab beige walls –
Thank you, Babe, you whisper, for bringing me here.
No, I think,
my face as wet with tears as yours.
Thank you, Bobcat, for bringing a gift of wildness that links us
to our past and – I pray – our future.
Wynne Brown is a freelance writer, editor, graphic designer, and poet based in southeast Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains. Her books and other works can be seen at www.wynnebrown.com. She is also a member of Tucson’s Dry River Poets, whose collection, Spilled, was published in 2011 by Casa Luna Press.