for Marianne Gabriel

Like a woman who goes
to her lover’s room when he is not there,
I go to the woods.

Like a woman laying her hand
on each of his possessions
and loving him all the more,

I walk in the trees and touch—
pine cone, leaf, feather, husk.
Always a longing to catch sight

of squirrel, badger, deer.
The forest pulling me deeper in
until the trees reveal

it’s not a glimpse of wildness
that I crave, but more like
one of those stories

where the stranger welcomed
into the family home
turns out to be a fox,

or where the fisherman’s wife,
after long years of marriage,
proves to be a seal.

Sometimes my need is
to lie down beneath the pines,

to curl, heart to earth.
Only the breath. Only fur.