After Dark

The first night of the world.

Something new was happening in the land of light. Suddenly, the world began to grow dark. The birds knew, but people had to learn, this is where you pause what you are doing; this is how you put down mats; this is when you lie down.

Be still, said one who knew.

And do what? Someone asked.

Sleep. But they didn’t know the word, not yet. So, the one who knew said, just wait, and people waited. Eventually, they knew sleep.

Then came a new light, but softer, and the birds sang to meet it. The sleepers opened their eyes and finally, after all this time, they were waking to meet the first day.

***

Inspired by “Finding Night,” Virginia Hamilton’s retelling of the story of Quat, the solar god of the Banks Islands, north of the New Hebrides in Melanesia. From In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World.

Let There Be

Notes at twilight.

New world, lens flare: the beginning of light is the beginning of time, and who controls it moves the vision of the moment––and its form. What difference is there, at any genesis, between making space and shining into it? 

Seeking, some found light until the dark begat seeking again. A hard time for thinkers, some say, though others object. Reason’s luminescence, which progressed by co-opting fire and then the lives of those deemed fit for its fuel, can only know its debt in waning radiance.

In this twilit hour, something comes. Lurching through a forest of shadows, flickering through an expanding dark, it speaks in long silences now. Given the limits of this human form, and the limits of a word designed for pointing to a nonexistent boundary between itself and other life, only when I begin to know the fullness of my nonexistence as human can I begin to say, I am.

***

Inspired by Digital Light, ed. Sean Cubitt, Daniel Palmer and Nathaniel Tkacz.