By Caitlin Vance
Featured art: Heron in snow by Ohara Koson
8 p.m. and an even-ing out of the world’s darkness
I’d like to escape. I take comfort in headlights,
phone screens, a busy lawyer’s lamp still on
through the office window. Small resistances
to night’s tyranny. I take comfort in a heavy glass
filled with ice which catches glimmers of light
like wedding rings. There’s comfort in walking down the sidewalk
where matches flicker and last season’s tinsel hangs
on tree branches in a shop window, there’s comfort
in the glitter painted on the eyelids of a drunk woman,
and the voices of strangers saying look at that moon.
At home I lure a firefly in through my window.
My green-eyed cat chases it and scrapes her teeth
against its little light-bulb tail, so all that’s left
to flicker are her eyes and mine and not
the firefly’s tiny dead eyes, gone dark.
My cat goes to sleep. I climb into bed, lower
my eyelids, burn out my last little lamps, surrender.
Caitlin Vance is the author of The Paper Garden and Other Stories (forthcoming from 7.13 Books in June 2021) and Think of the World as a Mirror Maze: Poems (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in Tin House, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, The Rupture (formerly The Collagist), Entropy, New Ohio Review, and other magazines. She lives in Lafayette, LA and is originally from Washington state.
Originally published in NOR 22.