“The Cabin” by William Wandless

The dog is at the door. That she is not
my dog and it is not my door seem like
pitiful quibbles out here in the dark.

That the door is latched and the dark is starred
seem like small sources of comfort, for the latch
rattles when the wind blows and the stars

cringe and flinch above the canopy of leaves.
And the dog is at the door, looking out
into the woods her keener eyes can see,

leaning forward on her forelegs with a straight,
still tail in an attitude that might mean
many things to one versed in the postures

of what once was entirely wild. But the door
is latched, the hook twitching in the eye, the screen
too thin to keep anything out, though it keeps

the light inside. And the dog is at the door,
facing out with the kitchen lights behind her,
so engrossed she does not shift or pivot when

I say her name. And I am at the door,
like her transfixed, like her instinctively convinced
I should not answer what is calling mine.

William Wandless is a professor of English and a writer of speculative poetry and fiction. His short stories have recently appeared in Dark Moon Digest, Not One of Us, and Dissections, and his chapbook of poetry, Notwithstanding, was issued by Alabaster Leaves Publishing in the winter of 2021. His virtual haunt is WrackwellAbbey.com, and he can also be found frittering away his time as @ArsGoetica on Twitter.