Installment 3 of poems from a life lived backwards. This was written on the solstice last year, about the one previous.
This longest night is dark,
moonless and cold. I hold
my breath against the unforgiving air.
Five in the evening, and already
only streetlamps light my way,
impersonal and antiseptic.
Tonight as I walk from the train
toward home, each measured step
becomes a prayer: pass… pass… pass…
Each step carries me deeper into night.
Houses stand along the street,
lit against the consuming dark,
the figures inside cook, or seek warmth
from the blue light of TV screens.
Quiet, still, they too wait
for the darkness to pass.
We are–all of us–suspended,
I round the corner to my own home,
casting anemic light from curtained windows–
there is nothing to do but go in. I hang
my coat, kiss my wife, place my hand
on the head of my pale, sleeping son,
and pray again for the quiet passing
of this dark night.