Conticinium/Alight

by Jonathon Egan

The first time it died, I was unprepared.

The dark curtain fell,

the heavens disrobed,

and I was bare before the trees

that leaned in suddenly, witnesses to

the final draughts of sunlight

spilling from the embers

into ash.

Startled by the numinous, a

last log then, meant for morning,

thrown in haste

to ward against the stars

and give me time to grow accustomed

to the honesty of dusk.

The second time it died, I was steeled.

Perseids to the northeast.

Mexico to the south.

The woodpeckers that rung the wood

so satisfyingly through the day

now asleep in fibrous cavities above me.

And underfoot: acorn caps, leaves, and

dust in piles on piles.

Now strongly tempted to remove my shoes, I

lift my eyes beyond the bower –

neck craning – to behold

not a burning bush,

but there, in worlds without number –

sounding with the last crickets in my ears and

pressing on the creases behind my knees –

a revelation in a whisper

teaching what will move and what will not.