the Dark--- Papua, IndonesiaIn this mining town in Papua the electricity
Has a habit of giving up at night, and this
Is a miracle of modern stasis, a secular Shabbat,
Reminding us of what is expendable, of how so few
Of us ever truly experience the dark. We are amazed,
My wife and I, with the heavy darkness
Of the no moon jungle, insect sounds lacerating
All illusions of silent places. "It's so absolute,"
My wife says, and I like to think she means
More than the darkness; the naked places
Of ourselves we dress in sunlight, lamps,
And recorded music like antithetical
Blanche DeBois's fearing a different sort
Of scrutiny. "We could pretend it's 1940,"
I say, "put a Jack Benny tape on the short wave
And drink coffee, light candles." She suggests
A walk outside instead, where there are dozens
Of others already out on paths bounded by jungle,
Stepping small and laughing loudly through various
Uncertainties; flashlights as eyes, ears like animals.
Soon we are trying only to remember not to disappear
Altogether; everything is so absolutely, so darkly possible.--- From Arguments for Stillness
©2006 Curbstone Press