Hushed voices drift on the dark,
like the bobbing blink of a firefly
first close to the grass
then out of arm’s reach
then back again.
The heavy thunk of water bottles
against their cages,
the click of headlights switching on,
illuminating the pebbled asphalt six feet ahead,
signals go time. Under cover of darkness,
the crunch of tires mingle
with muted yawns
and complaints of lingering sleepiness.
Moving through quiet streets, I follow
the red taillights of those in front,
the ones unafraid of that which
the darkness hides.
We roll through flashing yellow traffic lights
slowing the infrequent motorist who is out
while most still slumber, their windows curtained,
their doors closed, inside
their own heads
where possibilities and impossibilities
share the same space.
of street lamps, to become embraced
by blackness. I slow, unfamiliar
with this new dance partner who leads,
whose grasp obscures the road
beyond the circle of light.
Shapes materialize then disappear;
an imagined whisper breathes against my ear,
coaxing from deep within
my childhood fear of the night,
of the dark,
of the shadows,
of the loneliness
filling me as I tip-toed
room to room, listening to soft sleep breaths.
Longing for my own soft sleep breaths.
Longing for the first hint
of day to reveal that which
the darkness hides,
and I can laugh at the follies inside my head.