startled awake
at three thirty, I forget
I’m in the woods,

in the hammock.

must have dozed off
after moonset, keeping
watch over the solstice.

what was it that woke me?

not so much
or even a stirring,

though now
I swing erratically
to gain bearing.

before I dare scan
over the fabric I feel
eyes upon me.

I am aware
of breathing
not my own.

low and heavy,
a guttural warmth
of mammal near.

for fear I gasp
to hear a rustle
of dead leaves.

no mouse, no raccoon.
from that sound it is
obviously big.

seconds pass
like epochs, I pray
it is a dream.

I know better
than to even peek
from my cocoon.

Then the wooly mass
my backside.

I had hung the hammock
high and so I know thereby,
it’s plenty tall.

And it was no
appendage reaching,
but the body

of the beast,
brushing it’s gravity 
as if to guess my weight.

it sniffs and searches
to decide which part
first to eat.

then in awful silence
too still for me 
to take,

desperate I offer 
out my hand,
a gesture of surrender.

I feel its wet nose
then it’s tongue,
“easy fella”

it shakes its fur.
sighs out a yawn.
and settles under me.

we sleep.
come morning,
it is gone.