77: Utsuroi

March 12, 2019 · 5:00
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by Lee Ann Roripaugh

Morning light sifts
through the window
later, more tentatively.
It takes its time pooling
and accumulating
in hot buttery squares
on the floor where
the cats love to dip
and roll themselves
as if they were succulent
pieces of lobster.
Night comes shuttering
down more quickly.
The band of light that wraps
around each day like
a wide bright ribbon
is shrinking—the way
a favorite shirt shrinks
in the dryer, leaving
the day’s wrists and hips
uncovered. A red-headed
woodpecker runs up
then down a wooden column
on my front porch
with splayed agile feet.
Periodically, it stops
to tap—head a thrumming
shiny blur like a sewing
machine bobbin. The cats
nudge the curtains aside
with their heads, and stare.
In the evening, lacy insects
with bodies the color
of green apples quiver
around the windows—
a shiver of filigree, drawn
to the light inside. Things
quicken. The geraniums
and dahlias burn their colors
into the air more brightly,
birds hurry in harried,
twittering conferences
and I think reckless thoughts.
Things quicken. Why
do I always love the light
the most only at
the moment of its leaving?


“Utsuroi,” from ON THE CUSP OF A DANGEROUS YEAR by Lee Ann Roripaugh. Copyright © 2009 by Lee Ann Roripaugh. Used by permission of Southern Illinois University Press.