Roy White



I first noticed the sky was wrong one sunny
day in Rice Park--a gap
came flapping open when I glanced away
to see a blackbird or a pretty girl,
then vanished, like a door
you can hear slam far off, but always find
locked when you turn the knob.  I told myself
it was nothing, but knew
darkness so pure could never not be real.
Not the black of any mere thing, it tore
the blue and let the air out of the world.
A tiny hole, at first.

In the dark behind my eyelids, it was a whip
of thin fire cracking slowly, a bright breaker
on night’s shore, come to wrap
me in the bear-hug of its undertow.
When he gave me the bad news, the young doctor
couldn’t help chuckling.

And now?  Now that the storm troopers have blown
up the rainbow, now that the wolf has eaten
the sun,  even death seems little
more than a not-so-promising blind date,
something you’d hardly bother dressing up for.

I woke last night from dreams of stars and luggage
carousels to see bright balls of color,
neon lemons and plums: an artifact,
of course.  Never, I know,
never again will such radiance be real.
Just a ragged little hole, at first.

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