Starlight, furled tightly to those pinpoint masts in the sky. My mind a ship, unmoored, heaving slightly with the black tide of night.
Harvest moon, round and flat and white as an alabaster wafer, drifting high in a black sky. On the quad, a score of voices whoop and holler.
A chill edge to the air, a blue tint to the light filtering through the window. Sleep ends, severed by those twin blades, in full awareness.
Jumping into the swimming pool: so many burdens lifted at once, to be this liberated from gravity. Joy then, and a fierce bodily love.
Cool air, warm sun: the first of fall’s days. A last cicada throws up its electric song and the cats nap and blink on the porch.
Past the house with loud voices and laughter
falling from open windows;
past the old Winchester rifle factory, shattered panes
and iron gates, their long, decaying sway held fast
in the arms of rusting chains and steady locks.
Past the greenhouse, always lit, and the raccoons
who pause in apprehension from their garden digging
as I pass
under the striated blue loam of evening
and the loess of stars
blown in slow migration across our fading summer;
past the blinkered apartments, the man on a cell phone
speaking a different language in the parking lot,
along Mansfield to Division Street and beyond
to where someone blows her nose like a sudden shout,
hidden on a back porch,
to where the street ends in a T and I stop to sit
on someone else’s stairs and watch a lone mailman
making deliveries long after hours, and to return
And I sit with an acrid burn in my throat,
smoke of memory, taste of longing
for a street on which every face is a face I know and every hand
beckons me in; a fiction
but one so nearly brought to narrate the days
in other places, other paths
that sometimes the night feels like a loss,
and sometimes a blessing
that a city so unknowing grants this space
to recall such things unhindered, and then begin
the walk back, the empty house;
these words, a filament of breath exhaled
to reach beyond the bright, dark oceans
to where another life was lived.
Afternoon sun falling on asphalt, dark and light alternating and flickering in a monochromatic relay. The air is soft, the breeze light.