When it is too quiet at night
I wonder what is troubling the waters;
whether the banked clouds we saw
at sundown, their colors rich but muted
like a medieval tapestry, are merely
a screen that hasn’t risen yet
on the next act. Will there be
columns of smoke, towns going
under water, colonies of dead
bees scattered like gold beads
on the grass? When they announce
the evacuation order, you look
around and can’t decide which
of the things that could fit
into one backpack could answer to
the description of essential.
Weren’t you taught all, all
is important to the living body,
everything that could be grafted to it
as well as shorn away? And everything
is also already in your heart— Memory
of feasts made by hand that now
your same hand empties the icebox of,
for fear of the power going out,
the meat and butter going bad, the wilt
and ruin of even the thinnest stalk
of green. Regret: the wrapper around
a gift that hasn’t been torn open,
that hasn’t opened in you some stay
on time. And at night, it’s all you can do
to not give in to the dark immediately.
To count slowly even as you enter it.
In response to Via Negativa: Difficult sleeper.