Terry Lucas

New Mexico Sighting

	Melanistic Canis Latrans

At first we thought you a wild dog, at least partly
fed by Navajos—your erect body, shining
like a seal’s, soaked with the afternoon
sun, was all we could make of your gaze
at two hundred yards. But when you turned
and loped into the desert, silhouetting your muzzle, your tail
swaying like a juniper bush, as much at home among the sage
as sage itself, we knew you were not
headed to hogans on the horizon. Continuing our descent
down the plutonic spine that percolated through
this plateau twenty-six million years ago, we lost
sight of you, but still whispered as if you were the trickster
god we didn’t want to wake, a dream we didn’t want
to leave, longing for another glimpse, somehow
to confirm your presence, your mystery—and ours.