The creature so wily, willed his way by gillian harding-russell

Poem title: The creature so wily, willed his way Poet name: gillian harding-russell Poem: onto the front page on my son’s calendar his image on his mouse pad kind of prophetic too – Could the crisscross of influencing at the world’s seams know ahead that black flap-eared pup’s face we knew when we met (didn’t we?) It’s true we’d wanted another furrier creature known for friendliness on the website, adopted before we drove up, this stark new arrival hurried through the dark of the backdoor returned from two households, Be warned! but he slunk into the welcoming room where we waited sleek as a black stallion under our hands, with a whimper at company after the bareness of the cage he was let out from and when I glanced into his amber eyes, I saw need this pup intent on a kernel of kibble so quick he learned what to do: sit, give a paw, swirl and twirl, lie down, hardest play dead (a second or two will do, little one). On the walk, he now plays tug of war ferocious with the leash but soon the flavours of summer he reads in each inch of the ground between the tasseled grasses flowering fragrant along the path, the sudden leap of a jack... Oh, this creature jumps high as desire after squirrel nattering from a branch or onto the counter to reach the cheese when I turn from the sandwich I’m making to put away the lettuce and mayonnaise. But he lunges from fear at a passing cement truck or just now we have left him a-quiver in the front room to watch us out the window talking near the lilies with a neighbour, the shrub sprouting shoots, in need of a good trim, isn’t it? Savage with screeching wasp furious in the window pane, he bats it with pounding paws (that threaten to break the glass!) and bites the hose, a sea monster breathing flames of water, when he bounds back into the house – rather wet, spatters water drops in my face, rubbing his flank on the rosy brocade). At night, Willy is a shadow on the floor now it’s summer, a slinky silhouette his black muzzle to nuzzle your hand hanging over the edge of the bed... now its morning... its 4:30 am... but it is Saturday, Willy! then he leaps up tucks his back against your leg... until the light angles through the curtain with hotter clarity. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © gillian harding-russell Previously published in Talking about Strawberries All the Time (October 8th, 2021). gillian harding-russell, has five poetry collections published, the most recent In Another Air (Radiant Press, 2018) and Uninterrupted (Ekstasis Editions, 2020). Both full-length poetry collections were shortlisted for Saskatchewan Book Awards. In 2016, a poem sequence Making Sense won first prize in Exile’s Gwendolyn MacEwen Chapbook Award competition. Also, a chapbook, Megrim was released by The Alfred Gustav Press in 2021. She lives on Treaty 4 territory.