You know it’s time to step outside and stare at the cold
face of the moon when, while reading in bed, you see
the white shadow of a mouse dart from beneath your
desk to the ill-assumed safety at the center of the floor.
Out in the open, as you focus on his fear, he disappears
into the white carpet, now worn gray. Again and again,
from the desk he flees, only to disappear with your
scrutiny into the so-called safety of invisibility. And again
and again you return to your book, the same sentence
What we breathe is the air of all this world,
the sky, the blue, overwhelmed as a lonely witness
of all grief.
Then there: the mouse, pale as the moon, disappearing.
It is time to step outside,
to breathe the density of the air of all this world, breathe the sky,
the overwhelmed blue turned black this night. The man above
breathes the black too. Not God, but the cold, full face, formed
by faraway shadows in a devastatingly distant world.
He is lonely up above, miles away, weeping without hope
because he did not see you dart out the garage to stop and stare
up at him with sympathy; he cannot hear you say that you too
can breathe the frequent desolation of happiness, heavy
on the air; how when you fill your lungs with it you must sit
down, let its gravity hold you to the earth, make you disappear
into the deep grass at the center of the lawn – into the so-called
safety of invisibility. Only there do you breathe the loneliness
that comes from having a companion a world away. It is why
you hide in the shadows – white in the black – why you flee,
only to disappear in the invisibility of loneliness.