Unpredictable fear, cringing then snapping, dogs me. I
hear it hiding beneath my house, whining its low keening
whimper every night, a scabrous thing in the dark. It won’t
leave me, bristles and begs attention a body-length away
lest I touch it. Poor sooty beast, how long can I sit with you,
careful not to meet your eyes when you’re tugged close
by hunger, jerked back by random noise and nightmare?
Lifetimes, perhaps, till you'll let me clean that wound.