THE ONE MOMENT WHEN EVERYTHING
was the moment behind you,
the one that looked like a pencil mark on a stucco wall,
that sounded like the single peck of a chicken
into the shadow you just left
for you’re always leaving shadows
or dragging them behind you like criminal mishaps
and when you turn around to confront them they mock you.
Shadowland. Shadowplay. Shadow puppets.
“The day was filled with shadows.”
“Who knows? The Shadow knows!” The one moment
was an oar blade descending, a finger snap, an eye blink,
the flick of a light switch, a jaw clench,
one taste bud awakened,
a necklace clasp, a pinprick,
the little cry of “Oh!” that’s never repeated
in quite that way, even when caught on film,
so treasure it, say collectors,
put it into a locket and wear it everywhere.
Become a collector. Take out your scrapbook at night.
The world is gray. Quiet might not be its name.
-Dick Allen, Freshwater