Post Road Magazine #1

The Effects of Sunset + Requiem

Dale Young

The Effects of Sunset

Iron Shore, Montego Bay, 1974

At the edge of the yard, the grass thinning

to white sand speckled with shadows

of late afternoon, the insects—waxy, black

heretics with beetle-like shells—could be found

avoiding the surf, and who but that small boy

could summon such a scream, that lion cub

in the desert, that whimpering Prophet in training?

In Judea, the insects bandaged the rotting wood

(or were they devouring it?), their slick

carapace without even a trace of sand.

One might say these insects swarmed,

but they were not bbes, they carried

nothing sweet in their husks.

Exocticism, the late light, O summer—

a foot away, the water was dark, getting darker.


Again. Grey, the unsurprising slap

of cumulus and tumult, clouds

that never appealed to the naivete

of Northerners culturing Florida

in dreams of steam and sunlight.

Grey, the State’s grimmest truth,

grey on the order of silence,

grey to the point we call it beautiful.

Grey. Not the afternoon per se,

but the afternoon punctuated

by the punctuality of grey uniforms

marching away from St. Helen’s—

how the mind dislikes the unexpected,

the children scattering

instead of remaining single file.

Grey, the inside of the church

denied the sunlit squalor of stained glass;

and grey, the old man’s penance, the foam

on his hands as he scrubs the baseboards.

Grey, the nun’s habit blown halo.

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