by Armand Garnet Ruffo
It starts slow,
a little kindness.
The kind that begins
in the shelter of your arm,
a basket made into a bed,
a bit of food. Trust
takes time. It's
a luminous bird
slowly descending from the stars
to the tip of your fingers.

The process of naming
stamps personality,
tells and seals,
and there is no longer dependence
but interdependence.
Some ask to buy,
but there's no way
you can think of cash
for indentured bondage,
zoo slavery.

In their eyes you see
your own capacity,
as fathomless as the wilderness.
But through two tiny animals
how is it possible?
Then one night they don't show
and you search for weeks,
follow trails that deadend.
Until finally, exhausted,
you have to stop
and admit love.

From Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney, Coteau Books.

© 1996 Armand Garnet Ruffo

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