4 minutes and forty-seven seconds

Three days and the skies have cleared, and the wind moves. All afternoon the screen door has swung open and closed in the breeze, and she finally steps into the kitchen. She looks hung over, and I don't mention it.

She says: Hey baby.

I lift my eyebrows.

She says: Sorry I'm late.

I say: Look at what I learned.

I take the flashlight from my lap and point it at her, and then make a series of clicks.

She shrugs her shoulders.

I say: I just spelled light, in light, on your belly.

She says: Now write a poem for me.

And she lifts her shirt up.

I say: Maybe later. We should go.

We walk past the baseball diamond, up West Street, and over the Mill river. We take turns carrying the battery, but I hold the lamplight.

She asks: Where did you get this thing?

I say: I found it in the basement.

She asks: Is it yours?

I ask her: Will you can carry it until we get to the hill, and I will bring it to the top.

I look at my watch and understand that this is all foolishness.

At the top of the hill we are alone, and the grass is wet and muddy, I sit and she lays back, straight in the muck, and closes her eyes. I have a slight understanding why I find her so attractive.

She has been patient.

She asks: What is this all about, the cop light, the hill and the six-thirty shit.

I say: Later. I will tell you later.

I have spent time working this out.

There has been practice against the bedroom wall

Until I was perfect.

I stare too long and understanding that I look

At everything longer than I should,

Trying to find something that was missed.

So, I divide my calculations in half, and then I take thirty percent off the top of that.

I have seven seconds.

I know you are easily bored.

And sure there are easier ways.

Maybe not.

I direct the lamp to the planet that is best-seen three hours before dark or dawn.

I don't know what you do in the mornings any longer, but there is a chance that you will

Be in your yard, in the evening, with dirt on your hands, maybe pulling another buried bottle out of your garden bed, and there is a chance as you look to see that the light has made the grass a darker shade of green, and the place where your shirt climbs over your back as you bend over to loosen the soil

begins to feels cold.

and the light fades,

You might look up and notice her in the sky,

The brightest point in the failing light.

I start my stopwatch, and click the lamplight to the sky.

.-.. .----. .. .-. .. ... / .- -.. -- . - / .-.. .- / .-.. ..- -- .. .-. . / --.- ..- . / .-.. .----. .. .-. .. ... / .--. . .-. -- . - - .-. .- .-.-.-

and then I do it again,

and then once more.

And wait.

She touches my hip and to tell me that she is hungry, and she wants to go into town for dinner.

4 minutes and forty-seven seconds have passed

and my light begins to touch back to earth.

I tell her: Turn your head. This is not for you.

She watches the Smith girls across the street guide their bridled horses into the barn.

She says: None of this makes any sense.

I think of rods and cones touched by milky light


I am not sure if I understand either.

30 seconds, and I get up, and face her.

She extends an arm and smile to me, and I pull her up from the grass.

We climb down the hill.