Darkness for Breakfast
Photo by Joseph Hesch
The darkness never lasts,
even if clouds still cover you
like bedclothes come dawn.
Earth still spins, sun still crawls
eastish to westward.
You’ll have to trust me on this.
I’ve lived in shadow
all my life, attempting
to ignore how light,
dim or bright, eats darkness
like a final meal.
Though it never turns out
to be that last repast,
though. Like I said,
darkness never lasts.
Light nips it from my
shaking hands each time.
Light’s insatiable, but never
goes hungry. That’s because
darkness is eternal, inexorable,
the chocolate life dips day in
to lay upon your pillow.
I must admit, I may not have
intentionally slipped down here
into the well of sorrows,
but here I lay.
It’s a deep one. So deep that,
even though I’ve stuffed
all my bads and sads into it
over all my days,
it’s never overflowed and
little light reaches us
all the way down here.
Or so I thought.
But that’s what I get for leaning
so far over the side to examine
all these almost-forgotten pieces
of Who, What, When and Where.
That little voice drew me
closer. Not plaintive,
strangely declarative, familiar,
with each call, the voice lit
a tiny spark of an almost seen.
I thought I could reach it
and when I did, I fell, or
And now I’m down here
among my dead and dying,
my truths and lying,
all because I wanted to grasp
that flash of Why…Why…Why.
I wish someone’d throw me
a helping How.
How is it I get so dizzy
just looking down
from so low a prospect as this?
Why does the pain
of falling from here—
the chronic falling, not
the soon forgotten landings—
strike me as so great
and so long?
Maybe it’s the climb back
to what I’d laughingly call the top—
if I laughed much anymore—
that helps me forget that abrupt stop
at the bottom. It’s an aching,
a back-breaking trek, despite
its short distance. And because
I don’t look down,
fearful always of the misstep,
the inevitable error in my oft-faulty footing,
it’s so long.
Someday I wish to keep climbing,
ascending to the heights
of the smiling ones, whose anti-frowns
ensnare birdsongs from below.
I’d never look down again,
never contemplate that dizzying sight,
the speedy final fall, that one-way flight
from which there’d be no bounce.
Just the close-eyed bliss
like a fleeting last kiss
of one final adieu
and so long.
For sixty round trips of the hour hand of his grandmother’s wooden clock, which he broke some indeterminable time ago, Pål Rønning, had not seen the sun rise above the eastern horizon, which his grandfather told him was out beyond those scrubby trees.
Compasses grew confused about direction this close to the top of the world, just as Pål got confused when he moved to this desolate spot when his parents died in an Oslo car crash, how he got confused even more by the however-many days, or whatever one called them, he had been alone during this horror called Polar Night.
As he lay there by the fire, staring at the images of his grandparents sleeping at the table, staring at the ceiling, he didn’t think anything around him was real anymore, even the winds that knocked at the door he no longer answered.
“I am alone here and will never see anyone again, or maybe all around me is just a dream and I and the darkness are all that is real,” Pål wrote on a page of an undated journal the hunting party out of Longyearbyen found, along with Björn and Maria Rønning, frozen in blood there at the table of their cabin.
What they didn’t find was young Pål Rônning, who had decided to take a midday stroll one night under the Aurora Borealis, so sure that it was noon in Oslo and not something imaginary again like people, April and that great ball in the sky that once was the Sun.
A quick Five Sentence Fiction based on Lillie McGerrins prompt DARKNESS.
This last March night, I stand
beneath a black ceiling of clouds
as they break and flow
across the sky, allowing a peek
at the moon and she upon me.
They’re heavenly echoes
of the river ice, once a mass
of winter rigidity, now cracking
and whispering downstream
certain secrets kept for too long.
New whispers, a quietly
inform my reverie. They approach
on the south wind, as new cloud-cracks
reveal the silhouetted band
marching northward across the sky.
I shiver, not so much
from the cold, but because
this flapping pennant affirms
the river’s rumor of spring.
New 100-word drabble shared with dVerse gang, who are looking for poems of animals as portents of good or bad news. To me, there’s little better than the news that after this long rough Winter, Spring–real, warm, green-up Spring–is near.
(Photo credit: Konabish ~ Greg Bishop)
A 100-Word Drabble
It didn’t take but a couple of moments.
In the passenger seat Alison cussed me out for being such a Man and poured on the drama with the stabby exclamation point, “I wish I’d never met you and I wish you were dead.”
I reached to calm her, tell her I was sorry for being such a jerk, and took my eyes from the road for just a moment, the time it takes a sleepy trucker to drift his rig to our side of the road.
So that’s how we got here – a flash of light – two heartbeats.
Didn’t set out to write a drabble — a 100-word story — but son-of-a-gun if I didn’t end up with one. Not sure this is what Lillie McFerrin was expecting, either, when she asked for a five-sentence story based on the prompt MOMENTS.
When I was young, darkness held
the heartbeat thump, the maybe crash,
of unknowns, inevitable, evil,
death-dealing dread only defended
by bedside night-lights and Pater Nosters.
But the shadow creatures never came
and I grew to welcome dark’s embrace.
Only during those times was I truly alone,
empty of the harsh light, the reality
of crushing days, perfectly comfortable
and conversant with myself in ways
daylight and I would never share.
Now, it is the dark upon which I dote,
the dawn and its daylong drudgery I dread.
Not even closing my eyes to the glare
of day is enough. You probably wouldn’t
understand this reassuring touch,
this love I feel in the unlit,
though you might catch a glimpse
when I shine my darkness upon you.