All summer I made friendswith the creatures nearby ---
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,grinning through their many teeth,looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a soundoutside the door, the canvasbulged slightly ---something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house ---
I imagined the red eyes,the broad tongue, the enormous lap.Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madnessbut with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope ---
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?
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