hot august night, clear sky and no moon.
we sit in deck chairs hauled up by ladder to the flat roof of a mountain house,
where we lean back and look up into the dark, sparkling sky
to catch glimpses of shooting stars unzipping the night,
the brightest leaving smoky, glowing trails.

light for an instant lights the pines and oaks covering the slopes,
the pale flash like a flashbulb miles above. we marvel and coo.

one hill away, a panther squalls an unearthly, tormented call,
sounding like a giant, tortured infant. we glance at the ladder,
agree the night is growing cold and late,
and we should soon climb down and go inside.

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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