Don't be a fool for the sweetest nights

i breathe out, watching the sun go down because it has no choice. i can’t tell if the slowness in tempo and the fading of color are due to hopeless surrender or calm dignity or both at once.

that’s how i feel most days – it’s been hard to tell the difference.
i don’t keep count anyway. measuring has never been my forte.

i hear my head as it faintly warns my heart – “don’t be a fool for the sweetest nights.”

of course i end up the fool anyways.

sometimes the most important things are the ones that end up undetectable in memory: brushes of skin, glow of stolen glances, reaching of hands, sounds of bedsprings, texture of skin the morning after, matter-of-fact advice on the removal of candle wicks, the attempt to stay quiet, the song that was playing before you stepped out of the car.

they turn off the lights in hopes that you will forget. you end up following each other’s steps, touching and kissing harder to claim those feelings back. feeling invincible while swallowing darkness whole.

hope settles, quivers. and lifts its eyes. shakes its feathers. i crouch close by, waiting for it to take flight. gravity keeps it near.
regret puffs out its cheeks as if to say, “hey, i’m an emotion, too.”

the music rises, crests, soars with you. beneath you. carries you. when it lets you drop a day later, you are spit back into the darkness you had so willingly swallowed and then–

his voice, armed with Jack Gilbert, cutting through the hushed night: “The heart in its plenty hammered/ by rain and need, by the weight of what momentarily is.”

and so mine breaks, from all the weight of believing in what’s not really there.

“you fool,” the candle reminds.

i blow it out

in the most hopeless surrender.
with the calmest dignity.

i place the darkness in my mouth. i swallow it whole.