One Paw Poised

One Paw Poised

the others planted in snowpack,
here is the lost spirit of the moon’s cunning,
joy of the hunt, joy of the kill—

who claimed the gothic conifers
before Goths or Vandals
or the Westward Expansion—

who felt the steel trap’s
bodiless jaws, the bullet’s
invisible fang; twisted in strychnine

hung upside down
on iron crosses of barbed wire

and died by the myriad
for our sins.
                      Now let us praise him.