Not all that long ago, lying
in a puke-colored linoleum kitchen
in a poorly-lit, second-story flat
with two doorways—one opening
to a tight hallway with stairs, the other
leading to nowhere but straight down—
I would whittle night to the bone.
In the late-spring nights before
summer’s humidity, I would open
the second door, sit and smoke
and watch the neighbor’s chained dog
circling and circling but never settling
as if it had lost that instinct.
Most nights I fought the urge
to free him. Then each morning
I clambered out into the damp air
and found him curled inside the circle
that deepened each night.