Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Without Turning On the Lights — Eric Paul Shaffer

For years, I’ve arrived late at my own door,
and entered without turning on lights. It’s not
I’m at ease with a house of shadows. I’m as frightened

as anyone by the horrors night can conceal.
Yet when I was a boy, my sight was so poor
I learned the arrangement of rooms, the angles

of walls and corners, the heads and landings of stairs
so surely that I no longer needed to see
to walk among the chairs and tables and shelves

and lamps with which we furnish lives.
At first, distracted by night, I tried to see,
even encompassed in emptiness void of light,

but finally, I found my way best without looking,
and in my passage through the dark,
I closed my eves to what T couldn’t see.

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