by James Scruton
It’s a black dot
on our calendar,
no shadows across
the lawn, pond emptied
of its usual gleam.
And quiet: a night off
for coyotes, wolves
with nothing overhead
to howl at, this kind
of dark good cover
for the vulnerable
out there. Late enough,
I think of those
characters on the run
in old movies, the soldier
behind enemy lines,
the cowboy framed
by a crooked sheriff.
There might be something
like that on TV
at this hour, some familiar
rise and fall of plot
to follow, the screen’s
moonish glow on the walls
until dawn, when
our hero finally
crosses no-man’s-land
to safety or gives
that posse the slip
and the credits roll
away with the stars.

James Scruton is the author, most
recently, of Blind Season. His poems
and essays have appeared in Poetry,
Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review,
and The Florida Review, among many
other publications.