Discovering the Night

chris/ September 17, 2006

There must have been some kind of noise,
a semi truck downshifting
as it speeds down an overpass on the nearby interstate,
which sounds exactly the way a train in outer space would sound
to a young boy on earth, who watches it streak across the sky
like a shooting star.

Whatever the noise was, it woke me;
I looked out the window by my bed
into the neighbor’s backyard,
at the driveway to their garage,
at the emaciated mutt chained to a dog house.

Everything was still
and quiet.
I could see too well; it must have been a full moon
something seemed horribly out of place.

I tip-toed through the hallway to the top of the stairs,
worried about being found, completely alone and
curious who was guarding the house.

Halfway down the stairs, I could see that no one was in the living room;
no Mom or babysitter.
Any other time I woke up at night, someone was down there.

Seeing the room dark with the absence
of the television’s reassuring glow,
I got spooked;
I turned and hurried;

got back in bed and covered up.

When my heart slowed down so I could hear
how quiet everything was,
I tried to talk myself into sleeping.

That was when I heard:
Miss Kitty called out,
first in the living room, then up the stairs
a pleading sort of sound, not like any other meow.
It was the one reserved for calling her kittens,
the last of whom had been adopted out that afternoon.

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