Summer morning swirls slow
in my coffee steam, in my sticky
eyelids. Shamrocks in the windowsill
suck sunlight through their wide
leaves like open palms and arms
stretching after a long sleep.  

Before I can sink down below
the brim of couch cushions,
shrill screams break through
my clouded veil and I rise. Out
the door, across the deck, a streak  

of red lightening reaches down
as my beagle leaps up to swallow it.
For a second, the two of us stop.
We stare at each other as if wondering
if we are both still in bed asleep.  

Pleading eyes, he won’t let go.
The cardinal sits, wings folded
as if that long tongue was his own
landing pad. I pry our visitor free,
lead him to a safe branch
and console the lightning catcher.