Only at Night

Tonight the sky is clear
and the stars spill their light
like frothy buckets of milk hurrying home.

All the farmhouses are asleep—
only lamps and barnyards keep reading.
The fields, blankets dimly aglow.

With their spread tails, free-falling snipe
call to each other until the air is
as filled with their mellow yearning

as we are in our fleece vests
letting the night do our talking.
A roan still out grazing

carries the light on its back
and never looks up as we pass.
Below, on the interstate, a few truckers

follow a luminous roadstripe
into a loneliness as opulent
as the moonshadows we walk through.

*An earlier version of this poem was originally published in Crab Creek Review.

Joseph Powell is a retired English professor who taught at Central Washington University, and his most recent collection of poetry, A Preamble to the Afterlife, was published by Marchstreet Press in 2012.

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