Light fills and empties hollows every day.
Dawn, dusk. Unstinting generosity.
But when the black is permanent, the night?
Oh death, be kinder than the goodbye thought.
Bright dark rhyming looks: goodbye, hello.
Two transfixed regards that ask and know
and overflow. A wordless history,
a shadow palimpsest of all we saw.
Lesbia’s sparrow hopping down a lane
toward black, modo huc, modo illuc – pause and go?
Nox est perpetua. It only seemed
the path came to a stop. Then it wound on.
Cinders. Snow. Old craters. Black and white,
hot and cold. Scrubbed clean by desert air,
a citadel, high, red with afternoon,
abandoned now, but people once lived there.
Next morning bathed in light, god’s paint box open:
rose-colored boulders strewn as on the moon
keep their balance only for so long,
shadows shifting over each warm rock.
Colors to touch, textures at which to gaze:
your fingertips have eyes, your eyes are fingers.
Here is my right hand. Here is my left.
Here is what I have seen, remembered, known.
Luminous long looks that seek and give.
Dark of the moon so stars shine in the window.
On the last day of the dying year
it was time to go away from there,
the scintillation of desert air,
the chiseled clarity of Joshua Tree
and get to where
we watched a red sun sink into the sea.
Also by Rachel Hadas (see all)
- Voyage - March 2, 2023
- Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides:Fifteen Years of Literature & Medicine - May 22, 2022
- The Labyrinth, the Septic Tank - October 30, 2021