Calling it Dawn

shame breeds virulent
in the unctuous air, heavy,
a metallic bitterness at the back of the mouth,
as if something is giving way,
as if something is being pulled apart,
as if the vapid smiles of bystanders
have come unstuck
and filled the sky, covering the stars,
as if light is being reeled in
by a heavy sigh,
as if we lie bare with an uncertain moon
making distant love,
and talking afterwards,
changing the names of things,
twisting ends and beginning,
turning happy inside out to cry,
sweaty hands of the night
leaving wet prints on words
that remain in the corners,
stubbornly trapped between fingers, under nails,
later, scrubbing the shame
off the sky,
pointing to the last of the light
caught in the treetops,
laughing, calling it dawn.

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18 thoughts on “Calling it Dawn

  1. I like all the as ifs.. especially this one:

    as if the vapid smiles of bystanders
    have come unstuck
    and filled the sky, covering the stars

    Like

  2. This idea of marinating in the shame, yet trying to scrub it away as if it didn’t exist, seems to the the spirit behind the birth of the phrase Alternate Fact. You can scrub and scrub, but it doesn’t change the reality of what happened, no matter what you call it.

    Like

  3. Great poem – shame the burn which renders reality as an iteration of “as-if’s” so there is no reality, only char. I especially loved “as if we lie bare with an uncertain moon / making distant love, / and talking afterwards, / changing the names of things”

    Like

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