This Kind of Night

Live among people who revel in quiet.
Let night be fully night.
Exit the dim house with Leo on leash.
House lights homely earth stars—
Sky has swallowed the neighbors.
Leo pulls me into darkness with his nose.
Roads wait black and silent minutes.
The giant empty sound gets inside.
Let’s sit on the winter porch and listen
Past midnight, see if quiet minutes
Churn to hours.

Leo gets nervous. A pack
Of valley coyotes howl. Their yipping
Such a tonal range of clownishness.
Think their laughter human.
Listen close for people chiming in,
As I would like to. Join the coyote din.
A second mountain pack
Starts up its echo ruckus in duet.
House dogs cough a husky bark or two
Of distant memory, genetic mourning
For a tongue now lost to them.
Leo squeals a whimpered beg to walk,
Not stop to listen to the night.

From middle of the road, we shuffle
To the shoulder, then a neighbor’s dark drive
When headlights beam their distant crawl
Toward us, throwing light through stands
Of piñon pine like flashlights cutting up
A wild colonnade. And our six legs. Like prey,
Long shadows scramble mad for cover.
Once the car has passed, its path a thinning hiss
Of asphalt kissing wheels, I hold my breath,
Look up at Taurus, almost disappear.

No wonder now—that cosmic gleam
In longtime locals’ eyes. This kind of night,
Given time, will have its way with everyone.
Make us not quite right for well-lit city life. There,
In debt, I shred my heart to pass through nets.
Swim in schools for coins and loans. Self-turncoat.
Jealous, uncomfortable, I’ve feigned fun shrugging off
The Crestone gaze, a bit too wild and bright
To live for bills alone. It dawns, this place
Will night my face, star my eyes. By then I doubt
I’ll even care if colleagues look surprised.


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