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The Lights Are off but Somebody’s Home

— Jeremiah Moriarty

The storm had been there a while, all gloom and stir,
but somehow we were still shocked when it surged
over our heads, filled us up with its sourceless
snake-rattle. But also—that isn’t quite right, doesn’t say
quite enough, so I’ll start before that, start earlier
that day, retrace my steps across the dirt lot
beyond the railroad tracks, back where
I was made of me and you were made of
salt. I’ll re-thread the needle of desire,
ask myself for the umpteenth time: ​why not
us?
​Time breaks. The sun sets where it usually rises;
tropical and polar molecules wrestle to prove something.
Time re-asserts itself. In the present,
charcoal clouds skirt the city—a sharp knife
on the afternoon’s cheek, fireworks devoid of
razzle-dazzle. The sun’s premature setting is
a calculated surrender. ​Why not us? ​You touch me once
and I become fully myself.​ All gloom and stir. ​The power grid
goes down; the mind is strong but the flesh is weak.
Night comes properly, the storm turns inward.
I try to charge my phone before my walk,
but it’s an impossible process—like
slowing down time, if only to see my liquid reflection
in the hull of a passing Buick. When I get back,
the house is completely dark, save some moon-
light shafts through the back windows. Later,
when you come as a hungry mystery, even to
yourself, do not be afraid—the lights are off,
but somebody’s home. Let yourself in. That shifting figure
in the cool dark? That laser neverending? It’s only
me, leaning in the doorframe, wondering what you saw
in the eye of your spinning god.


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