Reasons for the Dark to Be Afraid
In the beginning, the small scalpel
carved a lump of light into the first star,
which burst open with beings
as if the ocean knew how to fly all along
and wanted to eat the sky,
morphing the air into a mirror
you could walk though. First came
the horses through the abyss
and those pressed against its rim
had to grow horns just to hook
themselves out. So the rhino
was crowned black sheep of hoofdum;
the shark became Templar of equilibrium,
flexing its chandelier of fangs. And though
every moment stretched into a mountain
of pebbles, nothing could stop the falling rocks
from scraping the sanded bowl of a lake.
At this juncture in our history,
the first eye, paranoid of what chased it,
rolled toward the brim of its petri dish, trying
to crack the dam of plastic glass. It couldn’t yet see
the sea lifting to kiss the cosmic windshield,
the birds diving past coral reefs
and dark trenches, scanning the ocean floor
for a gigantic plug. The eye couldn’t take
being chased so it grew a new tail
and plugged it into the mind—
the mind, that which drugs the eye—
the eye, dilated by the bottomless TV channel called consciousness.
What if every day you woke up
in a different body? You’d see your baseline through
a rolodex of faces. Instead, all your doubts are stuck
inside a single skull—stuck like water
looking up from the full weight of its iris, the compass
lusting after the roof. And the whole time
reality an understudy to the imagination, an insight
into the memories of our infinite selves.
Day is on inside out.
The moon’s in flames,
man lands on the sun,
and at night roosters
caw us to sleep. Even
you wake up before me
now, turning off my alarm
before my mind snaps
out of my dream of me
sleeping. But I am always
awake, my eyes are just closed.
Just last night I watched you
as the sun rose to pour darkness
in our window, to smother
you in it as you pulled the curtain,
which only spotlighted
the keyhole of your shadow
shining behind your back.
Daniel Ruiz is a former Fulbright Scholar and current Poetry Fellow at the Michener Center for Writers. His poems appear in POETRY, Meridian, The Journal, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere.