Curious fur

Jonah Hall:


The focus has shifted within these last months.

A new life of caretaking and rambunctiousness

Has piddled its way into our hearts.

In the mornings, healthy or otherwise,

I awake and let our bursting-bladder of a wobbly,

Furry monster out of his sleeping quarters, and

Into our world.

He has his fits every Monday, the day when we

Go back to our own routines, the ones that don’t

Revolve around him.  The whimpering

Feeling of abandonment eventually gives way

To a nap.

He reminds us of what zest and zeal look like.

He is unable to conceal his joy when we open

A door and he sees our funny faces,

Fuzzy through his still waking eyes,

and familiar in our peculiar odors.

He bends the back and stretches out

Fuzzy arms open in affection.

We are now a family.

The shared responsibility of a heartbeat,

Hidden beneath a growing coat,

Thick enough for the arctic,

Thin enough to allow the contagious,

He spreads his warmth accidentally,

Without effort,

And then wandering into mischief, unavoidably

And unintentionally mistake-prone.

We learn, forced to accept the mistakes around us,

Gradually teaching the toddler in fur,

Yes from No, His toys from our toys,

To leave it and leave it and leave it and love it.

Curiosity from Danger.

How to approach other heartbeats, big and small.

Call and response.  He absorbs through rewards,

The stomach gets happy and the brain full.

Obeying becomes second nature.  Limits are learned, then

re-learned. Short attention are tested, then tested,

then grow reluctantly patient.

We socialize through the socialization of this other life.

These deeper seeds of family, duty, the outside world.

The universe of damp grass, of the world as a play-thing,

Of every other costumed creature, a release of enthusiasm,

Unmatched by other beings, “Hello and I am HAPPY to

See you and I smell that you are healthy and eating good things,

And I invite you to JUMP around with me and try to WIN!”

Friends to find.  Mates to seek.

Proudly, we move forward, each path our own.

This morning’s walk, we stumble past a strange scent,

Behind us, cars stop.

A coyote crosses the road, fifty feet in back,

But we are walking forward, with wood and dirt

And leaves and birds.

A woman pulls her car over, gets out, points.

The bushy tail high, unafraid, crossing the park.

The coyote’s constitutional.

“Don’t let him off that leash,” the words of a groundskeeper

Echo through the mist.  “There are coyotes here.”

The feared creature walks on, obscured by oblivion,

Unmistakably natural,

The merging of worlds.

Outside of constructed walls.

Away from the heated rooms,

The stocked refrigerators.

Others live.

Wild. Tame.

The wolf in all of us enables eyes to search other eyes.

Teaching the heart to play again,

This is what we hoped to find.


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