Vast wilderness, surf infiltrates the sand beneath my feet,
Making firm my footsteps and the pawprints of my dog.
Unleashed, free to investigate driftwood and snaking kelp,
What trouble might a dog incur on such a barren beach?
Mind wandering, to home and books still waiting my return,
My reverie dispels by yelp and lunge of my companion –
A grounded boat with sleeping cat triggers its primal mind.
Forgetting master’s shouts, intent upon its prey – it springs.
The hinterland and backshore quake as spike-legged creatures bound
Toward my dog, and spiney arms hook tail and chest to halt.
And suddenly a piercing pain – green talons grip my leg,
While several plants surround the boat, a fierce agave hedge.
Its lust for blood forgotten now, my pet’s attack aborted,
A mocking sharp raspberry taunt directs my gaze above,
Where waving palm fronds purse their lips, and tongues issue the sound.
My head hangs down in shame, my dog’s tail ’tween its legs.
The beach police protect their own, from violence and harm.
But visitors, we limp homeward, our lesson learned, I hope.