The hard light of day goes soft and long
as the sun goes from Wichita, west
below the curve of the earth, and other
lights, few and tentative at first, not stars
but star-like, appear amongst the trees
of the shelter belt. And as the first true stars
come out the lights, the living lights, become bolder,
venturing out onto the verge of prairie
fronting the highway, and others appear,
as if coalescing from the thick air.

It’s been many years since I last saw these brave
luminous lovers that filled summer evenings, years since I left
the soft breathing hills of Pennsylvania for the sun-washed bones
and peaks of Colorado.

They stake everything on this night, these small creatures,
and my heart goes out to them, already sensing the stirring of the bats,
swift and deadly amongst the trees. I think our world is no less fragile
than theirs, and we are just as foolish as they to venture forth
into the red reach of life.

But if we choose not this boldness, never to venture forth,
but to remain always hidden, have we lived at all?
Come with me. I want to show you this night, force your door,
kick out the jams, throw open all the windows and lead you out
into this June field so that you will see all of this brave dance,
this so short, impossible beautiful life.

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