Dear Human: A Love Letter
BY FRANCESCA MORONEY
A Love Letter
by Francesca Moroney
We know you want us to behave.
Daily, we catalog our grievances
for all you deny us: burnt, crumbling
bits of bacon, the warmth of your body
at rest. From the floor, we cannot
comfort you. Outside, it’s not much better.
You say NO to skunks sunning, wasps nesting,
a visiting Pekingese. We don’t stop to talk
to friends, even the nice ones with cookies
in their pockets. WE’RE TRAINING, you yell.
When the road ends in the woods, you begin
to relax. There, under the mulberries,
the chokeberries, the bitternut hickories,
you loosen your grip on our leashes.
We hear you breathing. Sometimes,
you unclip your tethers from around
our necks. Here, we teach you. Let’s
scamper after chipmunks and find
deer dens hidden in the tall grass.
Let’s lap rainwater from cloudy puddles
and run with tongues lolling not to log
the mileage but because it feels good.
You, who has been so busy teaching, do you see
the crane perched on one foot, balancing
at the precise point where the creek water kisses
the silty dirt? Our lessons can resume
when we finish with the woods—spent
and panting, with cold extremities
and racing heartbeats. But for now,
let’s enjoy the air beneath the canopy
of this glorious birch. Let’s feel
its coolness on our noses. Does it not smell
sacred to you? After all, what
are the woods for, if not
an invitation to pray.