There is one now,
on the screen door,
his chalky wings a blur,
wanting in, wanting in.
A neighbor arrives,
headlights and the thump of a car door.
The voices slip through the geometry of lights
thrown down by front windows and a few words
break through more clearly than others,
as we smell the hint of a cigarette.
This warm weather begins at dawn,
and lasts long after sundown.
We fought against it,
sitting beside the air conditioner all day,
but now we have this quiet vigil,
nothing more to be done.
Everything is open,
the windows, the front door
with its screened darkness.
When a dog passes
we hear the tinkle of its collar tags.
Above the old orange tree in the garden
the silhouette of the mountain rises up and then the stars
and the satellites take over. The tiny points that move
look exactly like the ones that don’t,
silence followed by silence.
The moth climbs, flies in place,
and climbs yet more.
We sit quiet, and the house around us
is still, and of all the living things he
is the most urgent, restlessly on his way
with the earth toward morning.
Michael Cadnum lives in Albany, California. His thirty-fifth book, the novel Seize the Storm, was published in 2012 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Tweets by @commonwealmag