The Light, Refracted

                      "What more could I ask of the dark
                                         than just to be the dark itself?"
                                                                         ~ Sean Thomas Dougherty

As days shift and nights deepen, 
what has not fruited has begun to rock

itself to sleep. The leaves of our favorite 
trees are shriveling. Speckled with brown, 

now they are leathering. We cut back
the barren vines; we deadhead the roses 

and hydrangeas. I used to know someone 
who liked to say that the goal of each day 

was to climb into bed and sleep the sleep 
of the just—  Even then I wanted to know: 

the just what? I mean, doesn't the wind 
leave ripples in its wake though the trees 

are naked, though the only lights on water 
are whatever stars it manages to catch in its nets? 

When you are sleeping, I reach across the sheet 
as if toward a light that scaled the walls, 

that leaped upstream like a fish remembering 
origins. Now and then a flash of green appears 

on the horizon, though we've been told 
there isn't anything there but light, refracted. 

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