Thursday, July 8, 2021


Obedience of Shadows

I’ve finished dinner and no one is home. I’ve got a book in front of me, opened like palms in supplication.  The sun is at the level of the trees. That arching cathedral living room window. I see a silhouette of a Medieval town, ramparts and spires and castles, cast upon the pages.  Light fractionates through the grove of trees. Fragments into gothic shadows. The light gets gashed as it fights and claws through a tangled matting of branches.

Shadows are just thwarted light. This is how absence shines through. The residue of some indefinable loss. It breeds obedience.  The silent black respectfulness of a funeral. Doffing a coal-smudged cap. The shuffling of scuffed Sunday shoes.   

The shadows remain still and silent.  They stay where they are cast.  This is the obedience of shadows.  Of course, they aren't entirely still.  Just perceivably so.  The sun continues to set, inch by inch.  I know I haven’t much time. The spires are imperceptibly shifting, shrinking. My town, my kitchen starts to darken.  How much time has elapsed?

Sharp forms begin to smear. Edges blurring into a confluent gray.  A man at a kitchen table, an open book, head bowed, forgetting to whisper amen, not reading.  Nothing lasts. Not even longings for things already lost.  I’m losing my light.  Losing my place in my book. The train of thought.  Everyone will be  home soon. Garage door shudderings. Flickerings of halogen lights and chattering voices. Footsteps. I can’t understand a thing of what they say. All of it words I should know. They mean nothing at all.  The letters are curved shapes. The sounds are ominous rumblings of mountain thunder.  The shadows have retreated under the table. Around corners. To the other side of the wall.   Pages and pages of words. That's all that's left.    

I say:

Alexa, Play Billie Holiday.


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