Today's poem is by Eamon Grennan


What to make of night, then, its caul of stars sequined and—
for all their fixture—unsteady as breath, able to be winked out
by the smallest cloud? Night, scratched at by traffic, a chirrup
or two from frog or dark-flying bird. Night with a dash
of cut grass, parched earth, the skunk that gave today his life up
to the blind hunger of trucks thundering up Main Street, his
aftermath tainting our air, making sure we won't forget his wild
flight and how we caught him short between one safe hedgerow
and another, left his ebony and vanilla body tucked into itself
beyond all remedy at the edge of the road, gathering the risen,
exploratory dust. Our cats know night for what it is—a dark
skinless beast with blazing eyes, a mouth soft as sleep but open
to swallow their ambition, a gigantic companion they can lie beside,
the one who covers for them and out of whose shadow they spring
to bring the little infant of night-field mouse or streaked chipmunk—
in their teeth, greeting its one last horizontal high-pitched cry:
Oh mother it is too late! Now night: last notes before the daughter
of the house calls it a day, closes the music, goes to bed, so when
the father gets home, he'll find the front door locked, a note
in an unknown hand pinned to the lintel: Night comes down,
nothing to be done. Try again. Keep trying.
He looks around.

Copyright © 2006 Eamon Grennan All rights reserved
from The Kenyon Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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