home alone poem

My dog comes to the door when I put on my boots

“okay” I tell him,

and he shadows into the night with a bound.

 

I walk out of the dooryard.

My headlamp lights the path, the block.

I raise the axe and bring it down

Spruce snicks into the sugar snow.

 

I reach for another log

And, as I straighten, I am stopped

Half-hunched

Staring into green-blue-lit eyes

 

Last winter, I stared into the eyes of a wolf

Just these eyes on a frozen night lake.

 

It looked its fill.

 

Green light lunges and snaps overhead.

Stars prickle on the back of my neck.

The spruce trees shiver.

 

I exhale.

 

Then, easily,

my dog steps into the glow of my headlamp.

His eyes melt again to chocolate.

 

Inside, I let firewood clatter to the floor.

He steals a piece to gnaw

gets bits of bark on the rug.

 

No stranger.

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