I was there when day dyed dark at noon
in hiding; alone, too spent to feel the heat of fear.
Perhaps a moment seen from Olympian heights,
but all the world’s remaining time when viewed
from this tapped-out well of selfhood.
Darkness fell without words, damp, yet unassuaging,
where I lay dry in open-mouthed defeat,
agonal, near breathless, in some salty shallows
that remained unlit by any moon.
I felt no movement but the muscle’s failing
struggle in its tug of war with air,
with no one to record my last words.
In youth I’d always fled the fading sun
fearing what might mount on
the winged winds of night.
No strength to run, much less, to fly,
my life hung like a particle suspended
on some full and final exhalation,
launched from tiny alveoli of hope
trapped in a black lung of despair.
Yet something within this cavernous space
seemed to stir the wrinkled tissues of my life-
a brushing presence, faintly blowing,
hovering over the hole where I lay hidden.
What could I have done but look up?
How could I have foreknown the life
that would begin in the moment of turning,
that death unmasked is Love forevermore?