Evensong (O, Bewildering Picture)

The animal shelter is on one side
of the trailhead, the zoo
on the other. Beware of rattlers
sunning on the path. Beware,

this looks like easy allegory.
When my son told his class
about the rabbit in our yard,
one boy said how much he’d like

to shoot it. Look at these ordinary
houses: during last summer’s eclipse
they charged strangers hundreds
just to sack out on a couch. O tourist,

interloper, imagined into profitable
pest. Inside the shelter are too many
summer kittens. I keep walking by
though I know what happens

to them next. O dumb crickets
who fell for it when the sun
was covered, how you began
to chirp. This trail circles a park,

where what I feared was a gunshot
turned out to be a backfiring car.
Turns out that envelope from collections
was for the Hidden Pictures magazine

I forgot I’d ordered for my son. Turns out
it was the fireworks we heard last night
that ended up being the gun. If only
the worst we could do in our confusion

was miss the hidden moon
in the picture laid out before us,
or sing an evening song. Turns out
those shut-down Walmarts

are in the business of holding children.
The plans to release them are a mess.
They will pour into and infest: that
language is meant to obscure

to us what is human. These rustling
grasses offer up cottontails,
scurrying mice. Still I imagine a snake
is waiting to strike. What a luxury,

only imaginary harm. Soon
this trail will be expanded. The plan
is to surround the whole city.
And what then will we imagine:

pleasant greenbelt, moat,
an impenetrable wall? Comb again
through this bewildering
picture. O wild bear who scaled

the walls into the zoo—eventually
shot, tranquilized, and removed—
for a moment, no one knew
where you belonged. I have paid

to see the animals and I have
seen my son, his reflection imposed
on top of them. There was the sun
climbing the sky behind him. Wait,

no, in the picture glass I saw the moon,
hiding in a strange boy’s hair.