Darkness, then, was the dark wool to my nest
of light. I would tip back into
the emptiness beyond my rim of pillows
and let my head drop, my vision weave–

a narrow stalk brushing back and forth
across the ceiling. Then, as now,
I’d sift the risky valence the room’s corners held
and guess the direction of the healing drafts

by how alike the cobwebs were to drifting,
skirted fish. And follow then,
behind my head, some imagined line of wind
until my eyelids sank, my eyes finally turned

and rolled. I’d sense then
I’d been taken wholly over — light
to some purer form of light– until the walls sagged
and the manna-breath like coarse rope reeled me back.

It would dawn then. I’d wake and know
that I’d been weeping. It would have been easier
had my and feet been tied.
Had I been tube-fed, an IV hovering.

Instead I dreamed — the others’ voices thrashing
in the car like birds, the car too small,
and so it floats, a venting cage, above the marsh.
A startled wedge of dusk leaks out. Alights.

Is driven as if by moonlight
into the weeds…I wake…a row of windows growing
lighter by the moment, a bowl of water redder
The night nurse combs the shards of glass,

the rough stones. She says, Calm down, boy,
It’s late. Sleep. It’s five a.m. She’s the last remaining flaw
in the clearing wash. I’m the one wing
the night chased off to smuggle out

these soul-bits slipped like coins into a glove, a fist.

Purchase The Rain That Falls This Far here.


Dennis Hinrichsen served as the first Poet Laureate of the Greater Lansing area from May 2017 to April 2019. His poetry collection, Skin Music, won the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. His most recent work is [q / lear], a chapbook from Green Linden Press.