The kids were long asleep
when the voices traveled
up the wood plank stairs
from the primitive kitchen.

Pots rattled and the gas stove
popped to life as conversations
livened in the wee hours of
the December night. No one dared

leave the comfort of our sleeping
bag to peruse the parley downstairs.
We were all accounted for: two families,
two sets of brothers, two fathers, five hours till daylight.

Who then, was the family downstairs? A group
of migrant ghosts pausing in the desert
for a night of respite on their voyage
to a new life? Fear and curiosity,

sleep remained at bay as we pondered
their existence and our ipseity and sanity,
not to mention Maslow's need for safety.
Come morning, as we left for the hunting blind,
the kitchen was as we left it.


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