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shelter

that night we hid from rain
under cover of a metal carport
lightning crackled overhead
and the warning drizzle became an onslaught

i only felt safe with you
it didn’t matter how long we hid
so long as we stayed together
your sense of adventure inspired me

your intractable desire to hunt
encouraged me
your constant presence at my side
comforted me

to hell with the storm
for thinking it trapped us
together
we were never cornered

that parking lot belonged to us
we hunted across its asphalt expanse
exterminating the small things
locusts moths and lengths of string

property lines and contracts we did not recognize
agreements of strangers we did not recognize
we owned our hunting ground
for as long as we survived

hours passed beneath our metal canopy
before the clouds relented
we acknowledged their awesome power
no different from ours

forces of nature
embodiments of will
we gloried in the surrounding chaos
knowing we were its equals

i have never forgotten your eyes
your nearness at night
how you touched your face to mine
saying everything without language

but i have often wished
to live as you lived
to demand this earth obey me
and answer to my whim

to remain indomitable
when hope evaporated
to rule everything
when nothing
belonged
to me

—for Ellie Kitty, who loved to take me on walks at 3 a.m., whatever the weather.

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