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Published: Tue Apr 15 2008
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Not Night

_       _Cottonwoods bring down
the sun, suck the sky bone-blue,
_               _then load the light
_                       _inside sapwood
_                 _and stones.  Now the way
is lit for mink, barred owls, those
_              _who eat the weak by dark.
_                               _The nude horizon gleams
like gutted fish.

_                    _Way up there dark
plum clouds push the sopped
air down, the prairie
on edge while sheet lightning writhes,
_                   _breaking slightly
free of the sky . . .

_      _Watch the dogs’ noses up,
_                    _the wind getting raw
and blue. Out there the river,
_             _the one that never ends,
scrolls to the west, quartering off
_         _toward where the Dakotas
reside;  look: nothing.  Then,
nothing.  Hey, have
a seat if you want to see
_                          _this long night-
fall goddamn it, I said
don’t blink or you’ll miss it, over
_                _here, I said,
it’s all but dark.

See what's inside AGNI 67

Mark Conway’s first book, Any Holy City, was recently shortlisted for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. The poem here is from a new manuscript entitled “Dreaming Man, Face Down.” (updated 5/2008)

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