Adjusting to the Dark

Dusk. I sit on the porch of the cabin.
Wool sweater. Scotch.
Tomorrow it will snow.

But for now—a clear sky.
Across the ravine a man beats his wife.
I hear them through the pines.

She demands he stop.
It is three hours to the nearest gas station,
four to the nearest town.

I want to sneak onto his property,
take a shovel to his head.
But I can’t. I’m too weak.

How easy it would be for him
to pull the trigger,
take me down with one shot.

Then nothing. Quiet now
as clouds drop from the mountain
and I move inside to build a fire.

I’m here to write without distraction.
No television. No phone.
No man sleeping next to me in bed.

At midnight I step outside: I must learn
to trust what we think we see
when we close our eyes.

Down the road a figure moans,
crawls from the ditch toward this cabin.
She’s locked him outside.

Tomorrow it will snow.
Tomorrow I will pack and leave.