Afraid to look
(Waking at two in the morning)
at the stars alone -- even though they aren’t
known for eating you. (You may or may
not know, that’s the job of the moon).
Thus: another reason to stay put
by the fire tonight and swallow the smoke
wherever it finds you. The littlest dogs howl and whine
in a weird harmony trio, right until they suddenly – Stop.
Then something big and dangerous slinks through town.
It’s nothing that hasn’t always been here.
Your nightmares know that. And your neighbors talk
big, speaking the names. Bear. Big Cat. You know.
No one passing through here is unknown
to this place, nor, if you think on it, ever has been.
You may now close your eyes; hum into
your ears, and find your sleep ever so lightly
Kathy Bowman, Joseph, OR