The night does not fall
As much as it sweeps in,
Turning on every light
And speeding up every car on the road.
It's the opposite of morning,
Which rises slowly and prods us awake--
Begging for us to open our eyes
While we stretch languid against eachother,
Mewing softly,
Fluid sunlight streaking gentle through the windows.
No, rather, the night in all its vicious gritty darkness
Spreads velvet petal-folds over the landscape;
Staining all in its path with oily black,
Sending us rushing for shelter, protection,
Too early, still, to be thinking of warm lamps,
but late enough that the east windows reflected
dragons in violet clouds, whose dim red fire
threw my pencil’s silhouette over camps
of equations. Scribbled pencil marks connected
jumbled numbers like poorly soldered wire.

Later on, the lamp would fill the room:
any light’s enough, once the sun is forgotten.
Dusk divided the blue slowly away—
I would do my math until my folks got home,
hating every half-right answer I’d gotten—
dinnertime passed silently. The remainder was gray.

The soft light leaked away as sunset fell.
The next-house-over’s shadow quietly receded
like a black snake into a bird’s nest, easing
along so slowly as to appear still. I could tell
the lamp in the corner had conceded
defeat. The stars winked on in place, freezing.

I’d finish with the math later, or it with me.
The silence in the room erased my breathing.
Colder than the air, it grew possessive.
The garage door’s grinding motor set me free
from dusk’s depressing prison, and left my chest heaving,
the shock of noise deafening, impressive.

The car door slammed, dad’s footsteps on the stairs
resounded through his house where they belonged.
The darkness at the windows became black.
The lamp was bright enough, now, and the air
was fit for human lungs to breathe. The long
solved itself. Night had come back.


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