John Hyland Each Night

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.

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