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Late Light

Bill Howell
From:   Porcupine Archery. Insomniac Press, 2009.


For Carole Galloway

Time to paint the sky behind
the boundary spruce: those thoughtful clouds:
misty quilts, smoky blankets, dusted pillows, the rusty
industry of distance, the instant since of dusk.

Meanwhile, that row of fusty nutcrackers
standing in for poplars beyond the end of summer.
Lined up at a certain bar that only serves whiskey
to creatures with whiskers. Giving the wind a break,
forever upstaging each other, trying to remember what
they've meant. Marking time until lucent witches' knickers
spook their upper branches, feral hares burrowing below.

So the weather of this world supposes you.
The best of the feeder birds have agreed to stay on
for as long as they're needed. Nobody actually lives here
who can't plan to be somewhere else. And by now you can
see your breath. Everything noted for later remains
unsung. Mirrors shiver
your absence. Silence pretends to refuse to have
its say. Empty rooms clear
their throats. O the wonder of our wondering, lighting
pale candles to draw imaginary angel-moths circling
their own questions while we grin again in recognition.

By chance we take our chances, making something of
the choosing, our undoing done in just in time, doing
the best we can despite it. So much of what we have
is so much less than who we have to be. At least
the kitchen clock you finally leave behind at last
gives up, and the love of your life lets go.


Bill Howell's works copyright © to the author.


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