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After Dark
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It’s a gamble,
Going out after dark in these hills.
There are so few streetlights,
And the stars so far away,
That the only illumination
Leaks from the moon,
Waxing and waning in the ink sky.

Shadows reign supreme —
Some are static,
But others stretch, slink, slither
Through windows
Cracked for night air,
Beneath doors
Bolted against the void.

The precarious turns
Marking progress on mountain roads
Betray twists not solely
The province of pavement,
But also in the hearts and minds
Of some souls
Who inhabit this place.

There are many guns up here;
There are more deer.
Foxes sing otherworldly songs,
While coyotes croon low warnings.
And God help you
Should you encounter the growl:
It may be a cougar or a convict
Out for his nightly stalk.

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