Spring 2013

Solstice, 2012

When I woke, that end-of-the-world light
was slipping through the blinds
which never quite close no matter
how hard I twist the plastic dowel,
no matter if I turn them up toward the ceiling
or down toward the floor, the light shimmies in
and slides across the bed,
across my end-of-the-world flannel sheets,
the ones with house wrens
printed along the border, each to its own
brown twig, an empty nest balanced
on the twig printed below, little duplicates
without variance, without life. I woke
and paged back through the story of my days,
and as each face loomed I felt
that person’s essence swell inside me:
the morose, the gaunt, the delicate,
the evasive, the devastated—
their derelict hands, their omniscient eyes.
Their entities filled me like a pleasant toxin
and I loved them all again. I thought
of the ones whose lives had ended
and hoped they’d felt this tenderness
as they went, this furrowing into wakeful oblivion.
I got up and opened the blinds
to look out at the end-of-the-world wind
blowing through the skeletons
of the end-of-the-world trees, their spines
and arms swaying so gracefully.
Who can explain it? This end-of-the-world
life, this rapturous unfolding, this feet-
on-the-ground head-in-the-air breathing we do
until we don’t, these beating
then not-beating hearts. I watched
the end-of-the-world clouds,
shredding themselves like tissue paper
above the uppermost fingers of the oaks,
like souls come apart toward the end of their days,
wisp after wisp washed out by the blue
oblivious sky streaming into their tattered bodies,
each micro-droplet scattering, each traveling
farther away from the other, like the cells
of the body, the layers thinning, water unto air,
until so little is left you can’t tell the blue
from the white, or the white becomes so white
it becomes blue, that end-of-the-world blue,
burnished by sunlight, that trick-of-the-eye blue,
so startling and surprising it seems you are dreaming it,
or it feels like you know something large
and are seeing it for the last time.



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by Dorianne Laux and Richard Nace