Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

A Small Gathering of Light — Eric Paul Shaffer

The sun has yet to rise, but the silver sky has extinguished

the stars. Haleakalâ is black against the rising light.

Maybe someone should say the mountain before dawn

is darker than the mountain at midnight under starlight. It is.

Last night, stars hovered at my fingertips. If there is fire,

it is beyond me. On one side of the sky, Venus blazed

near Castor and Pollux. On the other, Jupiter brooded

over the volcano. If light creates distance,

then darkness draws us together. On nights when Venus

is on my right hand, and Jupiter on my left, I can’t imagine

the world going on without me, but I am confident. It will.

With three nights yet to fill, the bold moon displays the face

of change to us, journeying between the light

and its reflection. This morning, a single star shone to mark

our direction. There is only a small gathering of light,

but with the mountain as a guide, any road through day will do.

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