Chelsea Wagenaar



It’s obscurity inscribed on the air,
birch limbs unlit one by one,
the moon a blurted secret at both ends
of the day. The possums revel and slink
with nothing but moon and eyeglow
to illumine tossed cans and wrappers.
I could ask the darkness to hide me,
the psalmist wrote, and this day would seem
the answer, the wild approaching dark barely fronded
with light: firs mantled in white dust,
windows crypted with frost. I heard
about those girls, what their stepfather did to them.
Milton—going blind as he wrote
Paradise Lost—imagined that in hell
not even the fires give off light.
But even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
Some stories are too true to finish.
Some darks too dark. Across the way,
blackbirds fling upward from a field,
their bodies fluent with stealth.
Beneath each wing a startling ember:
last light carried off
into the deepening firmament.

Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of Mercy Spurs the Bone (Anhinga, 2015). She holds a PhD from the University of North Texas, and is currently a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow. Recent poems appear in Crazyhorse and Image.