Nocturne: on the first day of standard time

A poem about the night should offer
solace at the end, and, on the way, a list
of images the dark assembles
for our pleasure: the drowsy swallows, light
fading on brick and granite, the passing
rain, the slow calming of the mind. So logically,
this poem should celebrate the early dark
our clocks insist on, shoving nature toward
its longest shadow, sending us indoors.
But I spend this Sabbath cursing shadows
that bleach the garden’s brightness, cursing crows
that quit their yammering at dusk — even
the solitary singer cruising 34th
Street, falsetto swirling "This Little Light
of Mine" then a segue to "When Night
Comes Down" syncopating hymn and lovesong
into one, drowning the distant sirens,
calming our angry minds that see death’s footprints
through the gold fans the gingkos spread across
the concrete, though he can’t know this
and likely wouldn’t care.Deborah Burnham has lived in Powelton Village for about 30 years, and has taught at Penn for about the same length of time. Her poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review and Poetry, among other places.

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