Monday, May 2, 2022

All Consuming

The motel in the desert
Probably looked scruffier
By daylight, but at twilight,

It glowed lunar, lavender
White, the only moon that night.
The traveller who checked in,

On Thanksgiving, of all dates,
And alone, and not between
Home and visiting some feast,

Had come for the moonless night,
For the meteor showers
Expected to peak by dawn.

He took his green plastic key
And went to his room and napped.
At midnight, he rose and went,

Driving his car a short way
Up the empty road behind
The mushroom of the motel,

To get shut of any light.
He parked in sandy gravel,
Spread a blanket on the hood,

And lay on it, bundled up.
He was thirty-nine years old
And only once in his life

Had seen meteor showers,
As a teenager who went
Out in the dark and the snow

One night with a science class
For the chance to lie beside
The classmate he longed to touch.

Had he seen shooting stars then?
Yes, but not really. Tonight,
He wanted to really see.

It got cold. It got colder.
At one point, the meteors
Were so frequent, he lost count.

They were bright, sometimes startling,
But what got him was silence.
The desert wind made its sounds,

But the needles burned and burst
In silent ghosts of fireworks.
He admitted to himself

That, as a show, they weren’t much.
Over the next score of years,
Once he’d moved to the desert,

He saw meteors often.
There were a few every night.
But that silence. Their silence.

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