Pain loves the middle of a winter night;
I learned this long ago.
Or any night, really:
the blackness stretching out, silent,
irresistible, to either side,
the more the better;
and this dead center, gnawing,
its own flame, another long needle
easing in, holding, holding—
that burn. That intimate.
That unshareable. That—
And all the heads passing
along the periphery: shades.
Memories. Foreshadows, of the children
no longer, the loved not yet,
the bond so lost not even
the obituary could reach me
till its anniversary, dead star still
shining all that time, light traveling
as it does, on and on once made,
oblivious, impartial, obeying time,
transcending gravity,
on and on.

(As published in Artemis)