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The Absence of Light, by Sarah T. Jewell

The young man
with curled, swollen eyelids
and his seeing-eye stick steps
on the subway at Atlantic-Pacific.

He hasn’t developed
his bat senses yet,
as he fumbles for a pole
when there are half a dozen seats free.

Do you want a seat?
I break my no contact rule
and reach for his elbow. Follow me.

Bless you, bless you.

I sit across from him in silence,
thinking of my sister who could only sense light
or the absence of it, no colors or shapes.

I remember, as a child, saying a prayer
to find my lost watch. I saw its outline
as an afterimage behind my eyelids.
I found it in the grass as I imagined.

Why can’t I kneel now, close my eyes,
and accept the darkness?
The watch I found
no longer keeps time.


Sarah T. Jewell is a medical librarian for Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. She has recently published poetry in Bird’s Thumb and the Jersey City Independent.  She enjoys being active in a writer’s collective known as Jersey City Writers.

© 2015, Sarah T. Jewell

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