we gather around our fires

eating, talking, poking sticks at the glowing coals

watching fiery embers float away in the night

drawn by primate memories unrecognized

recorded indelibly by millions upon millions of nights

when the women and young

clustered around small cooking fires

at the back of the cave

men sitting at the entrance

tending a watch fire

telling stories, fingering their weapons

listening to the familiar night sounds

watching for death’s yellow eyes

to suddenly appear in the darkness

the men fall silent

weapons at the ready

as the bright yellow eyes suddenly appear

and move silently nearer

it does not like fire

but hunger can overcome fear

so the men wait

women and children fall silent

for an uncounted time

until the yellow eyes disappear

the small band within the cave moves quietly now

preparing to sleep

a few women move to join the men

as they sit in the night watching the fire and the dark

as we do still

not knowing why

Copyright Michael Douglas Scott