Mid-August Meteor Shower, Vedauwoo, WY


We pile blankets and sleeping bags

on the slope of a mountain,


the Perseids strewn

across the sky. A fire would steal


the dark and our view.

We set a target of more


than the fifty-seven Leonids we saw


in November, the hour and a half

we were able to stand


the wind. An hour in and you


are sleeping beside me. I count

out loud so I don’t lose


our place. A fire

would keep away mountain lions.


I listen and think I hear

the faint swish of tails


from streaks I’ve seen so far—

the constancy, the stars blooming


this sky. You wake,


the ground grown

too cold. You mention


we will miss the southern

autumn poplars.


But later, I know,

it will be the sky this close.


Stephanie McCarley Dugger’s chapbook, Sterling, is forthcoming from Paper Nautilus. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Calyx, CUTTHROAT, Gulf Stream, Meridian, Naugatuck River Review, The Southeast Review, Still: The Journal, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Zone 3 and other journals. She grew up on a farm in Alabama, received an MFA from the University of Wyoming and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee, where she serves as poetry editor for Grist.