mouche noir

mouche noir

A crescent moon rises over half-lit, just-shut apartment buildings and the

air smells like the fourth of July and cherry blossom litter.

I keep the windows open.

The sky’s a gradient in navy, reaching out

with darkening hands in the lamplight. And

through the widowed weeping willow

I can see Venus for the first time in months so

I keep the windows open.

France in the spring, a fresh cool breeze,

a friend’s hand after a long sorrow, flowers in an

open window.

I know now

why they would rather surrender than

scar this earth.

Couples hold hands on the street and I

keep my window open to watch the sky gather darkness

and see the world gather us all into herself but

the flies bite.

Milk Chocolate and Red

Milk Chocolate and Red

My mind thinks in terms of four o’clock. 

Four, when I’d had to get ready for work. 

Four, the only number that has two colors, 

milk chocolate and red. 

Four, the number of children, including me. 

My soul thinks in terms of late afternoon light,

And this is why I prefer it almost entirely. 

Rarely do my mind and soul match up, and this is no exception. 

Four o’clock light has no place among late afternoons. 

Four o’clock light is the light of half-finished day,

It’s not hopeful enough to be considered late afternoon light. 

Late afternoon light promises a sunset, 

Which promises that a day has passed, and that you have lived to see it. 

Four o’clock light promises nothing— except perhaps a nap for the oldfolk (and, admittedly, myself).

Four o’clock light is still dead from the three o’clock hour, sacred. 

Three o’clock is basically noon, and noon says you still have half a day to go until night,

And nobody likes that thought—            except perhaps the optimists. 

If I were still an optimist, perhaps I would prefer noon to it’s older self,

But I am not and so I don’t—                 except perhaps when I’m six again and noon says church is done. 

Now I dread noon and beg for the mercy of soft late afternoon light’s caress 

across my newly shorn soul, 

for the streaming tendrils of the day’s near-end to lift a lock of hair from my left ear,

And whisper, 

“Time to go.”

Dappled III: Bonfire

Dappled III: Bonfire

My father set up the logs and kindling in the night.
He left us in the day and told me I would be in charge.
I went outside to birth the flame and shadow with my light,
And in that flame, I saw my soul, alive though on the marge.

In the shadow I could see a deep darkness that I knew:
Quiet, lovely and dangerous, I looked on myself in ash.
Sparks skipped and hid within my skin as on the flames I blew,
And as the breath left, I wondered when would be my last.

I tended the fire as though it were a small, still-tripping child.
In the bright of flame and heat of fire, I could see my starving face
Reflecting my own light as the flaming dance ran wild,
And flame, with gloom, searched my soul like spotlights in a darkened place.

I feel ash sweeten my smoking eyes and at last, I know
I am more than flame and darkness; I’m an awakening glow.

Dappled II: Flame and Glow

Dappled II: Flame and Glow

Like first-flight birds, the days together flow.
Breathing deeply, I know where I have been.
Life dapples the soul with flame and sorrow.

Helios’ disc in my eyes rises slow.
I stop and let (some) soft healing begin.
Like lazy waves, the days together flow.

Wind shakes songs from the trees, songs I used to know.
It takes just moments to remember my sins.
Life dapples the soul with flame and shadow.

The sun warms my back and I overflow
With hope that I’m not quite broken within.
Like prayer and faith, the days together flow.

Shades clutch my heart with frozen grasp, and though
I once ignored, I now feel the weight of their din.
Life dapples the soul with flame and woe.

But look, though the Star sits back on His throne,
Hope that one day soon, He will come again.
Life dapples our souls with flame and softer glow,
But, oh, how I’ve loved the way the days have flown!