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The Bright Empty

I see the silver bay blinking
Under the influence of tall buildings,
Tossing out window light
Like the banter of well-meaning women.
They say their good-nights
With reassurances of constancy.
More light: fire in flight;
Fireflies filching firelight
In the heart of man.
I remember when the night was dark.
There were places you could walk to,
And once there, you could be anywhere.
Nothing grounded you, oriented you
To houses or highways.
Even the trees gave up their shapes
To the persuasion of night.
To find one, you had to feel the bark,
Like calloused flesh, and look up.
The tree was a hole in the web of stars,
The only light on moonless nights.
That was a thousand miles from here,
Or maybe more;
A thousand years ago
Or a little less.

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I prepare for outside.
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to the architecture;
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The new gravity holds me,
turns the voices into hums,
the walkers into clouds.

But outside my door,
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breaking through planks of wood
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and I’m in their path;
every word an arrow
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They’re only voices.
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They’re not aimed at me
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