First Saturday of the month and unlike the Greeks,
sometime ancient cynics of beauty
and warning, these sirens at least test the level

of dog agony in town. Faint howls. Loud howls.
Indifferent howls for the hell of it—surely mutt boredom
in alley and yard, new octaves of ache, a high

heaven’s blast though now it’s not just ordinary life
and death that go on around here. Oh alert alert to
fire and wind and plague, what leaps out of myth.

Then quiet in an autumn seeming—so much of it—
like summer, a winter half-assing the drill of fall,
you-call-this-cold? where glaciers drop

too many veils to the sea, whole counties
of blitz-burnt convenient stores and bedframes,
earthquakes in the mind’s eye gulping playgrounds,

a high rise, an old Toyota still good to make it to work
and back. Dark etcetera—gods forsake us—floods!
But even on this day of early-ending light

worry in a nutshell is still worry. I nut-shell you,
you nut-shell me. The squirrel buries his
near the surface, forgetting how remembering

goes deep. Dire so-ons and therefores beyond
earshot. Up where birds migrate
continents and bees risk everything.