Dark leaks from wounds in the sky
and puddles in low spots people
like us should avoid. The river
dazzles over bedrock, lighting
the dusk with foam. You expect
to ignite yourself with fireflies,
but their heat hardly registers
on important parts of your skin.
This indecision terminates
every day with equal prejudice,
nailing us to the calendar.
If we could move into town
and barricade indoors with people
lacking surnames, laughing over beer
at the locally famous tavern,
we’d avoid that sense of gasping
for indelible shadows too deep
to belong to anything living.
But we’ve chosen this absence
and must inhabit it despite
the drag of former urban lives.
The fear is part of our contract
with a silence as drab as granite.
We honor it by trotting home
with nervous candor, leaving tracks
in the road anyone could follow.
The river spits and snarls and weeps
for lost mythologies nothing
can resurrect. To understand
that absence requires great focus
and great fear, more than two people
deprived of lust can muster.