The first walk of the day when the bracken
is still damp from morning’s rain
and fence posts are footed in mud,
I bring the ball colored like the underside
of a glacier or belly of a salmon.
I throw it and my dog runs after until
she is as small as the cupped
hand shading my eyes.
She leaps, but neither crests like a whale
or makes a bell or parabola
or any algebraic curve; she jumps forward
to meet the ball the way an eagle
glides parallel to the river, talons
outstretched, grasping a pale bellied fish.
She opens her mouth and body, takes the ball
in, and only then does she acknowledge
ground, species, limitation.
This is part of the temple I build to the day,
that moment when my dog disbelieves
the earth. She and I go worshipping
flight; her ears unfurl like sails
when the bracken is wet with rain.