The path of darkness

Glow of rose shifting to wine over the housetops let me know another day was ending.

The day in the house did not end.

He lacked so much.
Bereft and drifting, he needed love.
He needed place.
He needed routine.
Of course we would help.
We thought we knew his darkness.
We were willing to hold out our lights and shield their flickering guidance.

Prepare him. His life to change big—prepare him. Smooth the path. Fill his lesions.
Nourish him. Prepare him.

He was sullen, voluble, withdrawn, eloquent—
because no tenderness can be trusted;
only he knows this.

Months tumbled one upon another—
we forgot even that the period for aid had ended.
Even the date couldn’t be found on the calendar,
as if we were committed to February 29 on a non-leap year.
There was no past, only future.
But past seeped into our ligaments.
Through our nerve endings.
Weakening tendons.
Leading to inflammations.
Shredding our work documents.
Suppressing conversation.

Shading into shade, the darkness advanced while we toiled and wrangled,
it loomed as we drove ourselves harder to overcome our exhaustion.

Too late when we noticed the dark—
He had already noticed it.
It was darkness nobody could own.
He concluded we owned it.

Today was absolutely unfeasible for looking ahead
for setting limits
for establishing civilization at our address
every day.
Never any day.

When the generator snapped off,
when the cries started up,
when the rug crumpled under the fixtures,
the darkness was complete.
We were all in separate cellars.
We had to start tossing each other the bungee cords of redemption,
Clamber out in an uncharted territory.
We emerged.

He was gone.
We had forgotten what big day he was headed for.
Our treatment plans were empty atavisms.
Accepted no amendments.

I went back out to see whether
a glow of rose yet graced the sky.


This poem was published in issue 3 (Spring 2020) of The Dark Sire.

Andy Oram
November 13, 2018

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