STEPHANIE McCARLEY DUGGER
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
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.