PRAIRIE ON A MOONLESS NIGHT
Emptiness granted substance for one night
By her fairy godmother, the new moon.
Her gown of solid shadow is blacker
Than the deepest despair, and
It fills the space between stalks of grass,
Oozing into cracks of creek stones
And the folds of flowers
As she dances across the field.
So this is what it is to drown in darkness
And in all that darkness symbolizes—
My own miseries made monstrous,
Catching her skirts like cockleburs.
Prairie! What do you think of this night?
Are you horrified as me?
Or is this dancing demon my own creation?
Mole, bat, you barely have eyes—
Why would you fear this darkness
Or make it more than darkness?
What do you care for our symbols, our stories?
Snakes in the grass, you are not interested
In temptation. You eat when you want to eat.
Temptation does nothing to explain the way
I’ve seen you slide from a slit in the earth
With perfect elegance after a storm.
Why, then, this uproar?
You sound like a mob of the oppressed.
This humming and buzzing and chirping,
This wild thrum booming from such small bodies
Into your invaded terrain.
I don’t know which intruder you address,
Me, who would turn your warm forms to totems,
Or this thick demon dark, who would swallow
You into her gullet of sorrow,
And I can only guess what you are saying,
But there seems only one thing,
Which is everything, that can be said:
“I am! I am! I am!”
© Jennie Wrisley 2010