by Peter Cooley
Even as a little one I know this darkness,
nameless. What I did not know:
it can be taught to speak.
I walk with it as the other boys
run past together, barreling against each other,
oblivious to us in the summer light
I see now in part. I am bound up
in myself. I run here, inside.
Deathless, she comes down to me
in the school library just as I begin
to find my body rising, willfully.
She knows a harder dark,
Dickinson tells me, poem after poem,
the heft of hers stretches, a circumference,
my own may lie in. I promise my allegiance:
if I keep speaking, From this next breath
all your possibilities will follow me
she swears, her mouth over mine,
and no one need ever know our secret.
And then the shadows, together with the light
as they have this afternoon, mid-winter,
possibly may syncopate, and I will walk
transcribing rhythms, stumbling necessarily.
And by such method come to happinesses,
small as they bay be, while the years pass through me.