Whose Camp?

Visiting the house, at night
he slips out into the backyard where,
in days gone, he manufactured
kingdoms from sticks and stones, chased
butterfly dreams and ant-hill
histories -- the stars have not changed
that his father named for him --
but it startles him to see, now, at the end
of the lot, a spotlight.  Almost, he
rushes back inside -- Who has set up
a camp in the backyard?  Then,
with something between a laugh and a
sob, he remembers.  In twenty
years since, where foxes once ran, where
there was only honeysuckle,
a development has been built, and that
glare is no camp, but someone's
home, back there where the dog of his
childhood lies buried.  He counts
his breaths, standing in the darkness,
counts and names to himself
the unchanged stars, with the old, grey
house at his back, and before
him, the strange, new light where fireflies
used to circle silent trees.

W. Luther Jett