TOO THIN TO HOLD – Star Coulbrooke
Each late fall the llama takes a fawn
under her loafing shed wing,
usually a sick one
down from the hills
too weak to last the winter.
She gives it a corner
washed in morning sun,
guards it from stray dogs,
eagles, mountain lions.
Her keeper leaves fresh hay bales
round the barn for warmth,
brings oats in a bowl.
The llama, old arthritic,
gets up spryly with six aspirin
plier-crushed, sprinkled on her food.
Bozo the barn cat, paws of a bobcat,
fur cream-colored and long as alpaca
looks out from his bed of cast-off coats
in the loft, belly full of vole.
He surveys the farm for a yellow stray
to take in, snuggle-partner ‘til spring
who’ll wear out its welcome
by eating his song birds and bunnies.
Cats wild and feral retreat before Bozo,
defender of barn squirrels, port in a storm.
The llama watches their backs,
these cats of all kinds, as they slink
up the road to the gravel pit
disturbing wild turkeys who lift
their unwieldy bodies like bombers,
who land in tree branches too thin
to hold them, but they do.