Marjorie A. Buettner...


Dark Night of the Soul

Cartilage before bone, a boneless nub; I can no longer feel the reaches of limbs. My eyes turn back upon themselves and see without sight, staring with a solemn steadiness that does not belong to me. They want to turn over and revolve in a circular rage; unfocused, diffused light burns between the skin of the lids thinned by touch shed like the powdered film from a moth's wings--the damage done. And ask me why I do not suddenly care to care, the numbness intact billowing like a paper bag in the wind. I have heard the world falling and it is the sound that eyes make when they are dried in the socket, beyond regret or belief. Then the face falls in layers, the strain of a measureless mask. We cannot recognize ourselves anymore; the eyes stray, the face estranged. All we can know is the weight of days encountering the willingness of sleep, going from room to room touching lightly objects as if expecting them to grow or sing or disappear from disuse, these objects that wait and tear my gaze from me. My hands will never cease touching them almost in disbelief. It is the cold acknowledgment of palms at the center of a reach. I do not want to own these words yet they beg for approval, fearing the rejection of silence. That space emptied of sound. Yes, and how these words still expose themselves--indecently--still rage, running, unashamed, naked through the streets. I pretend as we pass (taking up that blind look of indifference) that I do not see them. They follow me home, expecting clean sheets, home-cooked meals. They never listen to me, interrupting whenever they can. Sometimes I let them talk on and on into the night. Now and then I nod believably so that they think I understand. When I fall asleep I dream of the shattering scent of clean, white sheets and running naked in the streets.

dark night of the soul can you hear the sound of stars falling

WHCHaibun 2001-02-23

Copyright Marjorie Buettner, 2001