In the Night

In the Night
by Theodora Goss

I wake in the middle of the night, afraid of the dark,
afraid of the hours ahead, of everything
but death, which somehow does not frighten me
compared to the depth of the ocean, the height of the moon,
the mystery of the shapes birds make in flight,
the endlessness of certain minutes, which seem
to last forever, the emptiness of words,
the evanescence of a favorite perfume —

how things can be here one moment, then suddenly gone,
how you can work a lifetime without reward,
how another can truly see you, then turn away,
how easily a hand can slip from yours.

I lie in darkness, with the sound of the ticking clock
segmenting time, and tell myself it must mean
something, although I have no idea what.
Meanwhile, the moon drifts in the sky above
through her veil of clouds, while a flock of wild geese cry
as they pass overhead, and waves continue to crash
on the wet gray rocks like an ancient lullaby,
and slowly, as dawn approaches, the stars wink out.

(The image is Woman with Pillar of Flowers by Odilon Redon.)

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