The Sun Set

The sun set. The violence of the day melted away at dusk: the chokehold of morning, the broken bone, the bleeding ear. We cracked knuckles and relaxed into our desks. We flicked the switch; out poured music. We shucked armor. We nursed wounds. We wrote India.

Light lingered in the street. People shouted. Bars beckoned. The breeze persisted.

I could not wait for it to be over, for an idle day to pass into the night’s possibilities. A quiet, unyielding August heat hung over town. A slip of moon showed by late afternoon. What I wanted was to break the patterns we clung to. Someone would call. Someone would pick me up. We’d drive off. Then we could begin.

Day dissolves right there, over the water. We only notice sometimes. Would the moment lose its magic if we lived here, where we could always witness it? What are we thinking of: surprised at our own survival? Aware of the universal? How does the day unfurl in the other hemisphere?

Dogs play along the shore, attentive to the orbit of a tennis ball instead of celestial bodies.

Sunset, civil dusk, nautical dusk, astronomical dusk. I never knew about the precision of the coming darkness. We must have a mnemonic: She could never abide. She could never accept. Or: Selene comes, night awaits.

That sliver of time when Dad called us in for dinner. Mom just arrived home, and she examined the progress of her plants along the front walk. The Plymouth Grand Voyager ticked its cooling tick in the driveway. Pasta boiled on the stove, kitchen lights blazed.

The firefly shook the bark off her back and took wing at twilight. She tasted cool air and rustled through the marigolds. She swiveled her head when she noticed him shyly glowing beyond the pear tree. A warmth filled her belly. She smiled, flashed a pulse of green, and floated to greet him.

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