That Stubborn Superhero
Jennifer Angelina Petro
Out in nature, which is
To say, in us—it happens
The longest night comes
Filling what little day there is left
With thinly veiled darkness,
That, veil after veil, begins
To cover the day, like
A shawl thrown in slow motion
Over a lamp.
After the night has had its run,
It slowly—you’d better believe it—
Shrinks back to a more manageable size,
It contracts as the day exhales,
And with each exhalation, spring,
Moment by seemingly imperceptible
Moment—swells with such joy
It can barely contain itself.
And the light begins to coax the darkness
Into slipping away into time and to allow
Itself to grow its slow, wild warmth.
We have all gone through darknesses
That seemed to last forever—
At least—I have—when I couldn’t
Believe any light would ever come
Ever, ever, again, and that the abyss
Of not being able to see or hardly move
Would enshroud me forever.
If this has ever happened to you,
Or maybe is happening to you
Right now—believe it—spring always
Comes—little by hardly noticeable little
Darkness becomes less and less
And seeds of exhaultation can’t wait
To burst into flowers and tangible light.
I am not saying all darkness is bad.
There is a holy darkness, touched
With water and earth, where fireflies
Bedazzle the night, where love-making
Eases us into the sweetest sleep.
I am talking about the darkness
That swallows the will and chews it
Practically into nothing.
Just as too much light burns,
Too much darkness freezes the soul.
So, take my word for it—as someone
Who has been there and is taken there
Against my will every year—the swallowing darkness
Turns and slips away like a receding flood of black ink
Eventually, leaving gardens of survival,
Fragrant with honeysuckle,
And damp with laughter.
You’d better believe it,
Or if, like me, sometimes
That is impossible to do–
Pretend to believe it—or even if
That is too hard to do—don’t then–
Because its true regardless:
Never once has the night held captive
The day forever. Day, that stubborn superhero,
Will break free of night’s weakening grasp,
And soar, ringing through the fields,
Leaving visible hope spreading
Over all the land.
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