How to enter the dark

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.

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