Starless Night

by Ann Best

Space clarifies my childlike fear of darkness,
Locked in Mother’s closet, breathing mothballs
That preserved the coats and red-wool dresses,
Phantoms touching eerily my flesh
For fear of dying in a narrow place.

I dreamed of death when vicious winters later
Flung their ice and snow against the glass-
Mutely crawling back into the room
Where dust motes hovered in the dusky light
And moths beat thinly on a window screen.

Now I know that death is not a dream.

And, if this is how I am to die, locked trembling
In a corner of my closer mind,
I’ll close my eyes and turn a rusted key
And watch my soul flit like a half-drugged moth
To some round corner of infinity.

Ann Best recently received her Master’s degree in English at BYU. She is currently in a creative writing program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.