Across the fields from me
a clouded leopard sleeps.
The roar of the traffic is stilled,
the road – so close–
now silent and dark.
Where he comes from,
he would be awake
Eyes huge and watchful, whiskers alert;
ready to make his move
on stealthy silent paws.
Does he raise his nose in sleep
and sniff the air
for the hot wet mulch of the forest,
or the scent of wood smoke,
brought on a breeze from the valley,
catching instead only the salt tang of the sea
borne on the cold wind that sweeps across
fields of winter wheat?
Does he listen for tree frogs and cicadas,
hearing only the unanswered call
of a solitary owl?
Does he dream of escape?