It shook her out of a sound sleep, she says,
it seemed so real: the catamount
with all four feet dug into her flesh
riding her back like a demon in an old folktale.
Was it the lion’s voice or her own
she heard as she tried to turn
& couldn’t, couldn’t look,
doubled under that unearthly weight?
One clear autumn morning a week later
she wakes to the roar of a lumberman’s bulldozer
& remembers her dream. The man looking
down from his nest of gearshifts
must wonder at this gray-haired woman
who faces him from the other side
of the blade with fists
half-clenched. He reaches for the switch
& it shudders into silence. Don’t worry,
ma’am, he says, eyes watering from the tobacco juice
he swallowed so as not to spit.
We’ll cut well above your line.
This Cat is yellow & its teeth and claws are steel.
It lays the wooded spine of the mountain bare.
My mother runs to the far field
to flee the chainsaw’s scream.