Widow's Watch
by John Abbott

Her garden gates open
to a cemetery
filled with wild dogs,
feral beasts really, who
the sleep of the dead
and the ground
where they’re buried.
Paws scraping
against knotty cypress,
then polished mahogany.
Their solace comes only
when she, the owner
of this once great manor,
from her widow’s
watch and tosses sacks
of meat over the stone wall.

The people in town
all wonder
why the pack doesn’t
break through the gate
or jump the wall for
it isn’t so high.
All they can come up with
is the notion that they
share something
with the old woman;
the boundaries of loneliness
the spirit and reckless
of the outcast.
But what they should
wonder is what will
happen to the dogs
when the woman
climbs the stairs on
her last day
and the dogs must
charge the gates, bringing
the misery of confinement
to the civilized town in
the form of a howl which
speaks of freedom
born of desolation
which the townspeople will
describe with this word:

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