by Joshua Morse

Step out of your car one dead end road past the last luminous streetlight,
and let dusk cup your cheeks in its inky hands.

Leave your jacket bunched in the back seat and feel the navy black prickle
of March in the country well after dinnertime pierce your city shirt,

it is not an old friend’s embrace, but not because
the waning winter darkness is not dear to you. Just, that,

embracing is too little a communion.

This enfolds and infuses, infiltrates the fibers of your city pants
and enchants your light polluted eyes.

Look up and you can see stars—really see them—
they are no color that you can name just one bookend to a dusky pallet,

the other being jet bodied trees swaddled
in shadows darker than those they cast on the periwinkle snow,

turning grey as ash where they touch.

Between these hues trace your hands across a pudding thick sky
negative space bluer than blue between leafless fingers.

Do the trees’ flinch and twitch like that in the corpuscular chill and do they
deep in their well shielded heartwood thrill to the pleasure of it,

when evening slices through your citalopram cocoon
and breathes a spark into the pupating soul inside sharper than whisky, and,

burning not just where your voice should be?

Feel the dog now soft against your shins and follow her into your mother’s house silent
and sleeping and suddenly golden glowing awake to your words hello, house.

It is time to settle yourself to sink back into something
warm and well-lit and human, held tight between these magic walls,

but take one last look as you stop on the doorstep
with your bags and your life in hand,

wishing that you could invite the night in with you.

 

Joshua Morse grew up making regular visits to family just outside of Great Barrington, and he continues to frequentand write about—the tri-state area. Joshua currently lives in Vermont, where he is a PhD candidate studying the ways that people value landscapes and wildlife. He can often be found exploring the woods with his dog, Pepper.