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Clade Song 10

In the Cloud Forest

Day after day, the rain is a kind
of sunshine, patterned and reliable,
soothing cool against the face.
It softly strums my bending body as my hands

part the blue lupine, the avalanche lilies,
I find cougar prints but no cougar.
It's morning and the calls begin.
The forest is a babble of which tanager,

what warbler, jay, is where.
Everyone's out to make their living.
Some give warnings, others
direction to the feasting, to the love.

A marmot whistle out-duels the wind's moan,
The perpetrator perches on a rock,
surveys what it thinks is the world.
It looks out for cougar, trembling, fearing

quick and brutal death. For an hour or so,
it becomes my unintentional bait.
But that elusive cat doesn't show.
My body's damp with its saliva.

My heart growls with its hunger.
But I find cougar prints and no cougar.
Mist, crouched, silent, stalking,
becomes its closest living relative.

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John Grey is Australian born, US resident, short story writer, plawright, poet and retired Financial Systems analyst for a Fortune 500 company. Has been published in numerous magazines including Weird Tales, Christian Science Monitor, Greensboro Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Prism International, Poetry East, Agni, Poet Lore and Journal Of The American Medical Association as well as the horror anthology “What Fears Become” and the science fiction anthology “Futuredaze.”  Winner of Rhysling Award for short genre poetry in 1999.  Was theater critic and poetry columnist for a local Providence RI weekly arts magazine and has had plays produced off-off Broadwayand in Los Angeles.