At The Door

I was a blank page the night you invited me to waste
time with you in the alphabet of fractured forests,
half-torn trees. You knew all their names:  ash, black-
elder, cherry, devilwood, elderberry. The moon
was a golden sheath of Swiss or ripe with blue-
veins, according to what crossed it, aroused by the night
breeze. You tickled me half to death, called me “Red”
roughly, reduced me to your equal. More fox than wolf—
anyone with eyes the better to see you with
would see you as more trap than catch:  hard, lithe, ex-
Army man prone to tears of the tankard. And Grandpa,
what big eyes you had, something half-dead or was it still-
born in those otherwise fields of succory blue, steeling
my resolve to save you. You were stealth on padded feet,
showing up unawares from the den where you slept,
scruff of puce stubble bristling the hollows beneath
your cheekbones. You stood calm as an untroubled tree,
rigid as the spine of an unopened book—listening to me
listening to your slurred, impenetrable breathing.