The Dark of Day
We were trying to keep things neat and shiny.
We had two sets of dishes—one for love,
one for hate. We kept them in separate cupboards.
Eat love and hate at the same meal
and you'll get punished.
The rabbis taught us the mathematics of dividing
this from that. They certified
the micro-moment when day tips over
into night: When the third star presents itself in the sky.
They drew a line through that eye of light, a longitude.
You've got to navigate the evening blessing
with precision, not one star too soon.
But night comes on slowly.
It takes all day.
My friend's father was killed
in a car crash. She hated him,
hadn't seen him in years.
When the police called, she drove to the ditch
where his wrecked Chevy waited for the tow-truck.
The body was gone. On the dashboard, broken glasses,
an open notebook splotched with his blood.
Then she was crying, not knowing why.
She tore out a stain on the mottled paper,
his ragged last breath,
and took it into her mouth.