What Darkness Does

before-darkLike when you are camping and slip inside
your sleeping bag as night falls, let’s say it’s late
and October brings ankle-deep leaves and hush
of woods behind barn.

Sure, you could turn the lights on in this little house.
Choose instead the rhythm of darkness

as you wonder what verb could describe
its way of moving, if you can even call it movement,
though “falling” is wrong and it doesn’t exactly take
the light away, either.

No, it just comes. A kind of absence of light
we need a name for, and with it, the reminder:

You, too, are an animal whose body would find
a warm hollow, a den, a place to burrow in,
close and curled around her kin.
We are not designed to stay up past dark,

nor is sleeping alone exactly survival.
Oh, but instinct would have you build walls.

Walls to show your love, inside of which you fire
up the stove and stretch cotton blankets
over winter beds. Come sleep with me now.
I’ll wake you with coffee,

I’ll touch you with sprigs of something green,
at the first signs of an early spring.