Waking up to the white bone of dawn;
memory of light, half-life of darkness,
a daily prophecy of frozen floorboards.
This cold, fading silence of Sunday morning,
falling like the ash of a thirty-year volcanic winter.
The way all of our merit would vanish, if we gave up
a moment of the day to plunge back into our dreams.
Light, now imagined as radiant cloud or burning crown.
The slow trudge outside, curse and prayer of woodpile.
Eastern red cedar still asleep: erasure of termites,
black snake of phone line limp with snow, sick fledgling
whose eyes didn’t close, not even once throughout the night;
who waited out the insectile buzz of street lamps, waited
for one final glimpse of flame. Moments now, moments,
and the flick of my lighter will catch its eye. The soft glow
of cherry, the ritual of my ignorance, the weeks of feeling
watched—so full of myself that I thought it must be God.
By dusk, one of us dead and the other, none the wiser.