Slow-drip dilutes the blood,

Count backwards from ten.

Ward clock swells

to its own universe.

Scant light to tell

fox from shadow,

woodland trail

from river.

On the cusp of sleep

it lifts its head,

roused to peak

consciousness

by the deadfall snap

of trespassing feet,

endless trudging

through an echo-chamber skull.

Woods recede in its eye

to dragonfly glow,

bastion night-light

in a child’s room.

Dawn will not come

without its say-so.

The fox bows to the river,

laps darkness.

Ward clock flips

to a new hour.