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It is Late, But Not Too

There is a point in the day,

usually the end

—sometimes the very

last second—

(and more often that, lately)

when the beauty of the world,

the severe, almost mean gorgeousness

of the sun

or the moon

or your face

grabs me like a hand by the shoulder,

rough and sudden and tumbling

like I sometimes grab my dog when

his big white ears are sailboats and nothing more

It pushes me down

and says, "Sit. Listen. Would you?"

And I do. I do.

But it is late. And, some nights, the shame of this

is more than I can stand;

The if-only-I’d-done-this-sooners almost spread their fog,

over beauty's coastline.

What I think I know about when

a story should begin, or end,

almost wastes the little time

we do have.

Almost, but not quite.

I am writing this just after sitting on the sand, for five minutes

maybe seven.

While the sun set, I sat: skirt wet, knees swollen,

heart full as a shell (something alive in there, I think)

And for a little while, I let the tide of my breath

wash over the shame-pressed shore of me.

I let my forehead press, for a second even rest

against the forehead of the sky, and said.

I am here.

Late, but not too.

With some regrets, but with more hope.

Afraid, but happy.

I love meeting you when it is late;

when it is nearly dark and we

don’t have that much time

to see the sky turn purple then pink then fire


dark as a kiss—which, if you look

—have you?—

is not black at all but

pulsing with color,

alive with constellations undefined.

Maybe the end is not really the end,

but let's say it is.

Maybe we have more time than we thought,

but, let's say there’s not.

When we feel beauty’s hands grab

and pull, let's stop.

When I hear the last light of day call my name,

from over the wall of shame, from across the dunes of

trying another way

I am going to sit, again,

wherever I am,


for a little while.


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