These cool nights of early autumn unwrap dream presents,
untying the ribbons of my first deep and restful sleep since
midsummer’s soggy wool blanket of hot and heavy air
smothered the North Country and tucked in for a stay.
Dew-wet dreams of morning bird hunts past and future
soak sodden my boots and pants cuffs, rag-mop my dogs,
make rusty-hinged joints scrape and ache on walks that could
be light and wingless flights if real would yield to fantasy.
Maudlin nights I dream about my dogs, the ones gone on,
and wonder if I will see them again; a vexing thought
that leads away from coverts and down toward swamps
some of the dogs would rather not hunt – with me, anyway.
Not all canine reunions are a pile of happy puppies.
Peg and Annie never liked me; best we go our own ways.
Zeke was the sad-eyed house guest that refuses to leave until
you call a cab, give him twenty bucks, and slam the door.
Pete, the all-star-talent on your team, breaks your heart,
blows your gasket: always a happy drunk on game day.
Put the rest of us together one night in bird camp, though,
and there’d be yipping and barking and hugs all around.
Fleck, Suzie, Molly, Herco, Jessie – we’d have us a time.
Real in dreams, these cool nights and, I hope, for the long sleep.