Night is a well-worn coat I slip into,
wooly-plush and thick. There’s a viscosity and weight
to the dark which feels as if it could be grasped and held.
It seems to stretch and absorb shock like a black
bolt of lycra fabric. Animal-eyed stars peer coldly,
and shadows multiply in moonlight, sharpened or faded
with lunar phases, but always leaving the distance
between the object and opaque indistinct.
With irises starved for illumination smells and sounds
prolong and elongate, swell and bloat. I breathe lilac
scent from blocks away and car exhaust lingers long
after the vehicle departs. Owl-hoot from deep woods
comes to me as clearly as a phone call and low
conversation from a down-street porch is whispered
just to me. Uncertainty haunts every footstep testing texture
and slope, fingering gravel, pavement and grass like Braille.
Untethered to distinct sunlit surfaces, imagination wanders
with questions daylight so feebly answers. The reflux
of dreams, last-chances, joys and shame arise like outcast
ghosts. Fearing my own deeper darkness I navigate by dead
reckoning, relying on where I’ve been to know where I’m
going. Splashing into hidden puddles of memory, I’m
forever cowering beneath blankets during Dad’s drunken
rants, dropping a ball to schoolyard taunts, cutting my son’s
umbilical, squeezed by the desperate gravity of divorce,
breathing a mountain peak’s panoramic revelation.
My body’s diminished by dark, absorbed into a shadowy
landscape of rocks, trees, roads and structures
where thoughts ferment, darting dimly across expectations
like a deer leaping into headlights on an unlit road.
There’s nothing dismal or dreary in darkness, no gloom
or melancholy, only a self left stranded without the eyes’
acute surveillance. In a sudden adrenalin charge
I find incandescence and discovery, for night
is not just a later hour or light’s absence, but a disguise
revealing what cannot be seen by day.