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.



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