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
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.
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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