We leaned our heads back to watch the shooting stars.
Smoke from the fire ring rose and merged with the swath of the Milky Way.
We heard running, many feet running
through dry leaves over the hill behind us.
We saw shapes flood from the woods into
the starlight. Deer, I said, then I heard the yips.
They spread out over the
hillside, sniffing, searching,
but they did not approach the firelight. Instead they
circled back into the woods, a sudden wave that crashed and ebbed.
I wonder if they even saw us, we gray shadows frozen
beside blazing, dancing tongues. I wonder if
they heard our voices as the flames themselves speaking,
naming them with startled whispers.