It’s like having a new infant
all over again.
Except this one has four legs—
wakes us with the click-click of toenails
pacing our wooden floor,
mounting full-body shakes to make his collar jingle.
It is cold and dark but it does no good
to roll over and plead ignorance because then
come the snorts of frustration and high-pitched whines,
like a tiny piccolo ceaselessly rehearsing.
It’s time to take Buddy outside.
We walk the edge of the marsh by the library.
I peer up into the dark slot of the bat box,
looking for shapes. Buddy flushes some large bird out of
the overgrown grasses. We gasp,
crane our necks as the flutter of white
disappears into the Little Dipper.
This celestial mission accomplished, he stops
to do his business and I stoop to remove it,
startled to see sparkles all across the lawn—tiny stars of frost.
The thin rim of ice on the parking lot’s makeshift lake shines, too.
When we get to Lafayette the sidewalk glitters, revealing its cache of mica.
Cumberland Farms is lit up, just letting in its first sleepy customers.
Its light catches the feathered edges of the trees.
Who was it that called this hour ungodly?