★ ★ ★ ★


When You Can’t See the Sun

It was a long time
across the wet black
expanse of childhood.
The white suburban
jungle’s murky floor.
Its sticky dripping
day & night.
Its hiding places,
its wild creatures,
its predators.

We thought it
would never dry.
Now we say
it goes so fast,
all that wetness,
just the raw green of us.
We call those jungle days
morning and this, night.

I picked up a machete
at eighteen and hacked
my way out.

Trust me when I say
I have moved more times
than I care to count.
Though I don’t know
how I can be trusted.
With all this moving,
who’s to say I won’t
just up & go?

I never wanted to go.
I was a child, then a lover,
I followed along. I was
an escapee, dragging
my belongings to the gaping
mouth of a car trunk or laying
waste to them in a yard sale.
Never knowing what to keep
or when to stay behind.

Still, certain things have always come
with me: my first record, my last
nerve, these troublesome feet,
the desire to trust myself.
I’ve stayed put now
longer than ever, anywhere.

3, 4?
We feel the jungle encroaching
again. Its humid fever creeping like
a shadow across the parking lots.
It’s coming up the street
of our settled homey rental.
We rifle through dusty boxes
for my machete
or yours, making plans
to move. Or escape.
There is no time
to count, too much
to save, nowhere to hide.
Everyone is asking,
what happened to the light

and the birds & the branches
& the path to the beach
and the alleys & the ringing
& the foregone conclusion
and the gravel & the breezes
& the promise never made
and the whisper & the clover
& the ticket ripped in half
and the squirrels & the wires
& the long dusks of June

and the water & the current
& the full tank of gas?

Kathryn Robyn writes and performs for love, edits for money. She regrets she has failed miserably at her first aspiration, to save the world through writing and performing, but takes inspiration from the many young people around the world who are now taking up the charge. She has authored three books of nonfiction to that effort, all published in this century, and lives in Midcoast Maine with her wife, poet Barbaria Maria, and two cats.


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