Twilight Children

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.

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