Nighttime Walk

Brian Beckage
27 June 2021

First, a beetle assaults me,
Flying into my head
Before I’ve even left my driveway.
Fireflies and lightning bugs,
Flash and pulsate at the edge of the forest
On the side of the road,
Up high into the trees.
I spot the silhouette of some animal,
Crouching low, before it slides into the woods
A bat flaps just above my head
Chasing a zigzagging moth
As I walk beneath a streetlight.
A dog complains loudly
As I near its house,
Safe behind a screened door,
From the fisher cat
That flits about our neighborhood.
An owl hoots in reply,
Then sweeps not far above me, silently,
To the oaks on my side of the street.
A cat is startled by the tap
of my walking stick on asphalt,
And freezes and crouches low as I pass by.
I step around the toads
that wait in the splashes of light
for the insects that can’t help
But fly there.
A raccoon, large and fat, waddles in front of me
Disappearing into a shadow,
As coyotes yip and howl somewhere over the ridge.
A turn a corner toward my house
And a fox darts across the road
Not far in front of me,
Low and stealthy,
Barely visible and only for a second,
And moves into the abandoned park,
Towards the basketball court,
Maybe looking for a pick up game.
Life and wildness seep from all the cracks and seams,
Soon as the people retreat into their homes
Sealing out the dark,
Huddling in front of their glowing boxes.

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