A new poem by Susan Gillis

Solstice Night

A blue lake surrounds the house: snow
restored by twilight to a version of its original self,
stippled where wind and animals have crossed,
barred by shadows of trees.
And speaking of trees, shadows fly out from them
like time-traces of late-summer bats, and return.
Everything dampens down.
A sudden stillness—
and the earth’s tilt reverses.
Gradually the first stars prick the sky around the moon’s pearled curve.
The last of the year’s scrap wood is ready for burning.
Also a twilight everything turns from:
stamping our feet on the platform waiting for the train,
lined up on the curb waiting for the bus, blowing on our fingers.
Young men shaking snow from their collars
as they pass through turnstiles and descend
with everyone else into the tunnels and shopping concourses,
into the wet stink, the grit and slush, blasts of heat and noise
over the hornet-hum of earbuds and ringtones, ignoring
everything, which is a form of love —
 
Arm in arm a young couple stand in front of a window
brimming with tiny confections. He pulls off her hat—
a sudden stillness—
then breathes into the gold waves of her hair.
And night opens before them like a dinner napkin,
like a carousel starting up, night as a state,
moonless, starless, yet spangling. We’re burning
everything we have. We’re cheering ourselves on.