Turning on the Darkness

I turned my back to the darker world many years ago.

I trained my focus on lighter things and happier sounds.

I let myself laugh at things that I wouldn’t have before.

I let myself cry when babies laughed or someone, with

Just the right inflection and sincerity, said, “God Bless

America” or “Look at that rainbow—there.”

But the darkness didn’t turn its back on me, for sure.

He’s kept me in his gaze like a lion’s on a gazelle.

However faster I laughed or cried, he slithered

All the faster. Patience. Waiting out’s his game.

“Look how easily you laugh,” Amy said at Uncle Bill’s.

And still, behind me, sat the darker world eating pancakes.

The darker world has overtaken my decelerating stride.

He’s before me now, and, though I turn, he scampers

Back to face me head-on. I turn in circles, avoiding him.

A duller mind would think that darkness lay all around.

I don’t. I know it’s only a shadow. But, God, how I wish

He’d slow down, too, and turn his back on me.