The Heat of the Dark

Sitting in the garden, I light up a cigarette from my secret stash. It’s been a day and it’s not even midweek but there’s nothing new under the sun if you just keep telling yourself there isn’t.

I flick the ash into the dirt and notice how many brown dry leaves have already fallen from the maple trees which stand tall in a circle and tower over the roof. You don’t really notice the passing of time until you see it collected at the foot of another living thing. On the air is the scent of coming rain, eager earth and damp roots, waiting, panting with their blind naked tongues.

In my mind is a poem I am afraid to write. It’s funny how you can write all your life, every single day without missing a beat, and still come up desperately short when you least expect it. Writing is the telling of forbidden truths.

It is frightening because it doesn’t begin with the telling, it begins with the uncovering of truth. You know you shouldn’t. It’d be so much easier to get along if you could leave well enough alone. But you seek it out in spite of yourself. That thing which calls to you from the heat of the dark.

How often you cannot tell anyone else so all you can think to do is treat the page as though it were a small velvet lined box, a hand carved confessional, and hope it will forgive you all the promises you know you were a fool to have broken or a fool to have kept.

Blowing smoke into the already smoke tinged air, I watch as a little squirrel flurries across the wooden fence, carrying what looks to be a hefty chunk of half-eaten crabapple in his tiny mouth. A feast of a find. You can see the joy in the way his quivering tail waves and puffs out with excitement and fear.

We take what we can from this life and try to savor and protect it at the same time. No wonder our brittle bones are tired and our clenched jaws ache. Certain people crawl under the skin and it’s a damn tragedy trying to wring yourself free when you want all of the mystery and none of the risk.

When I think of you, I think of smooth wind across an empty beach. The way the mist descends just before the storm rolls in. I want to kiss you on the mouth for hours in the rain, until I rush like a river all the way through your veins. You like a baptism, like soft skin immersed in a swelling sea. Sparks on the ocean. Thunder rumbling through our chests. The gunmetal beauty of you tempts and terrifies me.

As the sun slips beneath the low branches which clutch at the edge of the wild pink horizon, I crush out my cigarette and close my eyes. Soon the moon will rise high over the corn fields and strange little heads will lie down on pillows to sleep. And I will drink wine and stare at the time and not be able to write a goddamn thing.

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