"Jelly-Side Down"
by artis wilder

 

 
Shepherdess

Restless,
She turned in her bed
And turned again.

Outside the back door
The mountain stood
Waiting.

She rose, and padded into the night,
Into the moonlight,
Climbing.

Up there she came to the big rock
And sat at it's edge
Overlooking the town.

She watched the small lights of night
Flicker on, then off.
Refrigerator doors opened and closed.
Bathroom lights flashed on, then off.
The steady pale glow of nightlights in children's rooms.
The caves of light cast by streetlamps 
Creating their singular havens.
The headlight eyes of a car
Creeping through the streets
On missions unknown.

Her heart became vibrant
With things she had no words for.
She forgot she was mad at Billy Ray.
Her late homework didn't really matter.
Her parents down there
Were no longer maddening,
But dear in their weary slumber.

The moon spread her light on the lake
And the lake smiled it back to her.
The clouds, ghostly silver,
Glowed in the moonlight.

The black stone knot inside her 
Loosened
Until she, too,
Glowed in the moonlight.

She began to expand,
To wrap herself around the town,
Her town.
Her love rolled over it
And it glowed in the moonlight,
Glowed in her embrace.

She held it in stillness
And safety.
She held it tenderly.
She held it completely.
She held it, all of it,
Through the night,
Glowing in the moonlight.
 
   
 
 

©artis wilder March 1999
 


 
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