Our four slender legs walk this place
now that the two-leggeds have disappeared.
Where have they gone?
Their long faces peer through clear squares in their dens.
What is keeping them in?
Occasionally one of them ventures outside,
looking furtively over a shoulder, walking fast,
their two huge paws clomping over hard pathways.
We are free to populate this space again.
We have long dwelled in this land by the sea
before any two-leggeds arrived to take it from us,
to cover the earth with hard surfaces,
to chase us away or string us up on fences.
Of course, we never left. Of course, it is still ours, too,
though we share it with those who think it is not.
It is our way.
We recognize all beings—the winged ones in tree and sky,
the ones who crawl with many legs or scurry, their long tails
whipping behind them, as well as the other four-leggeds
not so different than us—possum, deer, squirrel, skunk,
prey, friend, even those who mew and bark.
Why have they gone?
We sit now and watch those long faces stare out at us.
We cannot hear them, their loud voices silenced.
It is so much quieter now, their four-wheeled movers stilled.
We have emerged from our hidden places;
we patrol the immortal ground, startled to hear
our own paws as we stride or frolic or run,
easily detecting the chatter of the winged ones,
catching a whiff of each other in the wind.
We glance over our shoulders, note presence and absence.
We make room for all, even for those in hiding.