Thursday, January 20, 2022


Gray Dawn

The hour before dawn 

Endures as the hour most

Dour for thoughts of self harm:

The wind weaving through leafless trees

The hollow roar of distant traffic.

Everything is spectral, shadowed

The dog a faint ghost

Raising a leg against a tree 

At the edge of the frozen yard.

All is best seen indirectly,

Sideways from the corner of your eye,

The ancient vision of the periphery.

A false hope remains that once

The trigger is pulled

Or the pills are swallowed

Or the cords of a rope are cinched

This blurry edged world

Will remain as it is; unlined, indistinct,

Known only by flashes of action

And you will be the sole witness

Of all that dares to move.

In this place there is none of the clarity 

Revealed by light of day

Nor the absolute faith 

Demanded of pitch darkness.

Just this desolate quiet disarming gray,

A thin tattered shawl 

You wrap around your shoulders

In the cold misty fog of morning.

It isn’t nearly warm enough

But it’s better than nothing   

Neither dark nor light

No sun nor moon

Nothing to be asserted

Nothing denied.  

No forever, no soon 

No sounds, no silences

A world that is both half true

And a series of justifiable lies  

The wind picks up again,

Trees tapping bony fingers

Against black glass

In distracted impatience. 

The sky is bruised an ecchymotic blue,

Injury welling to just below the surface

But no further.

The skin remains unbroken, 

A thwarted bleeding that smears 

Like a form trapped beneath the ice.

Distantly, the horizon begins to define 

Itself as a faint yellowing rind.

Such is the way the world heals,

Always from the edges  

In slow sighing deliberations.

Day comes.

Shadows retreat back into bodies.

Colors burst forth from the hollows.

Day comes as dawn:

The first song of the woodpeckers 

High up in dead trees.

The dog is licking at my fingers.

A motion is my own hand

Scratching at his scruff.

I’ve damaged the frosted grass 

In a trail of pressed craters,

Glazed blades straining to rise again.

Time is passing again,

Permitting sorrow to stretch

Itself into a thrumming joy

Before snapping right back again  

And the world is a space again

For the moon and the grass and the sun.

And work remains to be done

And so much work remains to be done  


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