Dan Bellm





Brightness

Driving home from the hospice, from his death,
four a.m. now, his last possessions in a paper bag
beside me on the seat, the heavy glasses,
the teeth in a margarine tub,
his cheap watch on my arm as though I'd stolen
time back, the smell of his skin
on my hands; over the city 
where I was born there's a sliver 
of glass, the new moon
with the old moon in its arms;
so dark, and no one on the streets
as if this were my dream city 
that I won't have to share with anyone,
enclosed apart in its own time
but a little changed, a little decayed
from the way I remember it, separate
from me after all, going its own way; it is not 
my memory; time has not stopped; my father is dead.
O ferocious soul with your famous mistrust of love, 
I think your darkness 
must be my inheritance; 
I reach the edge of the city, drive west on Highway 36
and there is no one under the shelter of darkness
but me and two or three truckers on the road,
early risers like you, starting the working day
before anyone has stirred; so the far past
returns and you come into my room softly 
to tap me out of sleep 
in the dark, we go for a ride in the truck
somewhere, you and me, shivering awake, our breath visible, 		
alone in our bodies, 
alone in the world.