With loose skin and rheumatism, he kneeled
Weeping in the crackling brown.
Every blade of grass was a wildflower
Whose blossoms he addressed every day.
He had grown a lifetime in a season —
Sixty years in these nine months of love.
He understood the loss
Leaving would incur. Every mile
Tightened his sagging skin. Stories
Compacted from their epic length
To memories of a single day,
Lost density, grew easier to bear.
Young muscles gassed the car, but he returned —
Twenty thousand days appeared
Like dying all at once for decades.
What had been blossoms in the tens of thousands
Turned shards of grease & rusted iron.
~ For Katie Darby Mullins
There is no drunken in this dark.
This is the dark of nostalgia,
The moonlight-loved and loving dark
Of hours lonely with a mother
Whose hours would collapse with age.
This dark is manic and ambitiously
Alone, filled with sounds that mean
For no one else. And this moon
The moon of envy and success
With spare hints of anxiety that peek
Into their past from your prescient noon.
This dark is known because of those who loved;
Loved with fury and construction
And in their love, built
a dark that you could live in.
This dark is known because of who you’re born.
This dark is made by blackout curtains
In the daytime, lit by worklamps
Just to save the feeling,
The pride that came at five years old
Just from knowing a portion of day
Your peers had never heard of.
This dark is made from lovers
Who have loved and fallen into life
In ways that you have never known.
This is a dark of flowing words
And silent eloquence,
And peaceful lamentation.
This is a dark of music in the angel’s soul,
And questioning existence
In a way that does not care about the answer.
This is a dark that you know I know,
And know that I can answer to.
This is a dark of intimate distance.
This is the dark we know,
And a dark that means for only us.
Charlie Lehmann is a non-binary poet working out of Evansville, Indiana. Their work has been previously published by Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry and the Dragon Poet Review.