Daryl Jones: "Negotiating the Dark"




I catch myself drowsing

in the blue light of the late night news,

something about nuclear inspections, trust but verify,

the old wrangle over human intentions,


and with a weary wave of the remote

suspend the debate.  Gripping the arms

of the overstuffed recliner, I push myself up,

stand bleary-eyed in the dim light of the only lamp,

then shuffle across the room

and click it off.  


                        In the subtle darkness,

the room recomposes itself—the sofa there, end tables there

and there, the high-backed chair—and blindly I ease 

past the coffee table’s unseen corners and jutting legs,

the rug’s curled edge, the vase posing invisibly

elbow-high on the credenza, and turning left


right where I sense I should, enter the long dark hall

I’ve baby-stepped to bed in the dark a thousand times

and know like the back of my hand, which,

as I edge along the hall for the thousand-and-first time,

I hold out in front of my face, just to be sure.


Daryl Jones' book of poems, Someone Going Home Late (Texas Tech University Press), won the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. His poems appear, or are forthcoming, in Cider Press Review, Gettysburg Review, Idaho Review, New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere.