His Night Light

in the corner of his room—
a campfire far off in the trees.

Fever burnishes his cheeks.
He wheezes,
puffing out his lips.

Lying with him, I ask
the light:
Where are the words

to draw out his disease?
Like peonies in a breeze,
his eyelids flutter.

We have survived
the shipwreck by clinging
to a plank,

rocking on the sea
of ragged sleep. There,
far off, the beacon burns.

We are nearing land,
the gray country of dawn,
an island where we can

stay just as we are.
We never have to die here.
Let the waves repeat

their stories. Let these
be the words. We can
cook over a fire

on our secret shore,
the sand cool and blue
forever on our skin.

Ed Harkness | Mudlark No. 13
Contents | Seven Star Spoon