Three Dog Night

by Faith Shearin

In the old days, before houses were warm,

people did not sleep alone. Not even

windows went by themselves into

the cold sheets of night. Rooms were

lit with lanterns and children were

encouraged to jump on their beds,

warming themselves, before they

crawled inside. You might sleep with

your cousin or sister, your nose

buried in the summer of their

hair. You might place a baked potato

in your blanket to help it remember

warmth. A fire would be lit but, after

awhile, it would smolder down

to the bone silence of ash. Everything

was cold: the basin where you washed

your face, the wood floor, the windows

where you watched your breath

open over the framed blur of snow.

Your hands and feet were cold

and the trees were cold: naked,

traced in ice. You might take a dog

to bed or two or three, anything to lie

down with life, feel it breathing nearby.


  1. Ha! Great photo. It's usually Leo's idea to jump in my bed when HE is too cold. On days I could use the extra warmth, he acts more a cat. Ingrate!


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