the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




M. A. Schaffner

A Blip Still Now and Then

If the day were to suddenly shrink, the night
would stretch itself to cover if it could.
But we could expect a slight interval
in which the light would flicker and falter
into hours of twilight, the birds would cast
lengthening shadows and trails of darkness.
Then the silhouettes of trees would expand
to blot out the pavement below. I know

how that works. I've visited hospitals
and seen the curtains ring the beds of friends
and close relations. One moment the nurse
circuits brightly through; in the next a priest
alights like a crow, tenderly searching
for the moist kernel before it flits away.



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