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Not Night

by Mark Conway

       Cottonwoods bring down
the sun, suck the sky bone-blue,
               then load the light
                       inside sapwood
                 and stones.  Now the way
is lit for mink, barred owls, those 
              who eat the weak by dark. 
                               The nude horizon gleams
like gutted fish.

                    Way up there dark
plum clouds push the sopped
air down, the prairie
on edge while sheet lightning writhes,
                   breaking slightly
free of the sky . . .

      Watch the dogs’ noses up,
                    the wind getting raw
and blue. Out there the river,
             the one that never ends,
scrolls to the west, quartering off
         toward where the Dakotas
reside;  look: nothing.  Then,
nothing.  Hey, have
a seat if you want to see
                          this long night-
fall goddamn it, I said
don’t blink or you’ll miss it, over
                here, I said,
it’s all but dark.


Mark Conway’s first book, Any Holy City, was recently shortlisted for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. The poem here is from a new manuscript entitled “Dreaming Man, Face Down.” (5/2008)

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AGNI Magazine :: published at Boston University ©2008 AGNI