There are swallows and bats
in the dark air. I don't
know one from the other now,
so I throw a stone as high
as I can and watch two birds
dive with the stone, just
averting the earth where twilight
is sewing the sky and horizon
into one cloth. The blue is deep,
much deeper than royal colors.
It is pure enough that one
believes it could be shattered,
the way a fine ceramic piece
shimmers with the possibility
of its own destruction.
Once the barns were full of both,
furred and feathered, dark
upstarts who belong in no light
but this. I thought, much later
than when I first admired them,
that these are what replace children
when evening calls them in to dinner
and later to bed, tucked in to dream
of bats in the eaves, the squeak
of mice who transform into creatures
who know the light by the keenest
knowledge of all, transformed
into the wisdom of absence.
I toss another stone, this one
closer to myself. I duck, not away
from a diving bat, but from the rock
I threw straight above myself.
The thud is dull, my fingers wet
as I grope to find it in the grass.
The twilight has removed itself
the way a mother backs into a hall,
her children sleeping just within
the space she leaves them to, alone.