Ten Poems by Robert Plath

It was the dog's chase
and his relentless barking
at one of the small blue spruces
his mad leaping at its limbs
for more than an hour
that had sent them up
two of them up
into the thick branches
and snug against the trunk
their expression, whatever kind of eyes they had
facing the dark core of the tree
and the bald tails
hanging, the grey-brown rumps
frozen, at eye-height
you held the flashlight on them
they had come from the farm
from rows of cabbage heads
had come under the yard fence
slyly avoiding the traps
and now were caught in a tree
in the flashlight's beam
we went back inside leaving
the rats alone to the night
and you pressed your temple
to my cheek

(LIQ Spring 99)