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Won 2nd place in Glen Phillips Poetry Prize, 2015, published in Stylus Lit, Sept 2017, https://styluslit.com/poetry/tenebrae/

Tenebrae

1.
It’s late. Outside our window, shadows are hunting amongst the trees
wiping out their kindnesses, their careful housing of small lives
the silver dirling of their leaves in the dusk.

 

Night knits together. The trees blur
and blend till all we see is the plain
and purl of their trunks, ribbing the dark.

 

Finally, there’s nothing but a stark square
of black and ourselves reflected in it, the ghosts
of our hands, drawing together as if in prayer, closing the curtains.

 

2.
And now the inside noises: TV’s staccato static
wi-fi rustling in the folds of our brain
the microwave’s toneless baritone
the drone of the vacuum’s empty vowels
ready-meals crunkling in manufactured ice.

 

3.
The freezer door slams. The fridge
gives several loud whidders and is
silent. We don’t see the light
go out but we know it’s out.

 

4.
It’s then we remember the pathways through the trees
                         which must still be there, even though it's dark.
We can’t see them but we ken they're there
                           and we ken that small lives are moving back
and forth across them,
               making wee impressions
                                                    in the trampled earth
                                   with their totie
                 padded feet          
                                               their totie
                              clawed feet

                      
                        the spindled

 

                                                      pinpoints

                                
                                                                     of their

                                                              insect

                                                            

                                                                                    legs. 

We look towards the window. In a while we’ll go across
and rearrange the curtains, part the soft
                                                                                folds and look out into dark
                              and when we turn away
                                                                                 we’ll leave them open
                                                                                 behind us
                                                                                 ready for the glister
                                                                                 of morning.

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