“If the Stars Were Not Out”

by Jade Nicole Beals

A whispered line
overheard in the night as I slept 
from through the open window 
that overlooks mostly unpopulated woods: 
I considered, half-dreaming,
The line has been spoken protectively, ‘though I am safe, and I fell back to sleep.
I think, in any case, 
you would still have come. 

A surgeon might say, ‘For the good of it, cut off the limb, any way; you don’t need it. It’s of no use to you, whichever way you do.’ 
Of no use to you, but I felt it, and still do. 

A loss is a path turning toward home 
if the stars weren’t out, 
and the street lamps glared with precision, and the fog drifts in like pointing fingers,  and drifts back out. The woman 
in the poem 
is me 
now sleeping 
on her pillow,  
fingers soft, on her side,  
her forehead still, breathing soft,  
lips soft and silent…far away, near the sweet blossoming 
without wings, 
a waterfall,
where at the first turn away,
silence unlays 
the grandest semblance of bliss 
the loss.

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