The Mountain Lion Walks by My Guard Gate

Ron Riekki


Wind. The cheap boom barrier had been shaking all night,
shook by ghosts, the biohazard-packed building behind it
steady as Hell. I was fighting falling asleep, punching

nightmares to death, an epistaxis of night terrors with eyes
wide nothing.
                       Then five deer running with hemotympanum
fear; the moment their hooves hit the asphalt, they skidded,

falling to their thin knees, bouncing back up again, and diving
into the anorexic bushes that surround our everything here.
Then peace.     Then a shadow the color of murder. I slid

my kiosk door shut, soft, taking my eyes off the thing
that was no longer a thing, just a thin memory.
                                                                           I found out
the next day, the tail end of a graveyard shift, the cars

arriving like thyroid storms, that they deliver subpoenas
to your workplaces, for the extra embarrassment, publicity,
the annulment, the dissolution, how life's split into vivisections.