A Walk in the Dark

Life is a familiar stranger

Coming over an almost endless field

But getting closer.

The trickiest part of saying “I love you”

Isn’t necessarily saying it.

Nor even adding an adverb like “Sincerely”

Which at the end of the day can be like throwing a pair of pants

Over a statement that has no balls.

Purpose lurks behind the pretension

Of well-read syntax

In the sacred syllable of a stutter

In the flicker of two eyes

In failure

And the rush of self-sacrifice in the name of no-name.

There are things that we miss when we’re not afraid to die.

Like an otter raising his silky head

Not breaking the water but fortifying it

Becoming it like one becomes a fashionable hat.

When the car is in the shop we must walk through the forest of darkness

With demons feasting on all sides until old bones remain

Yellow and weathered and withered. 

But the sunset is sumptuous because of the dark

Offering the kind of light that evades the net of a camera lens

Because this is a one-time thing.

When it begins to rain

It runs in dark streams on the asphalt

And I run in wet jeans 

And wet shoes

And wring my shirt out at the door.

And memories surface like otters raising their heads

Like two-dimensional mirrors that remain of gemstones

Like the mica I picked up off the driveway when I was younger and wondered at.

These kinds of gems consumed themselves in their crystallization

Like the flare of carbonizing fire

Or the flair of calcified butterflies.

But the mica memories remain like the afterimage of light

Like the gift of a short journey which ends out of breath

With a sodden shirt in hand.

The slam of the door beats my heart to the punch

And the thought of you makes a spark

Before I’ve had time to strike the flint.


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