A Burden of Light

Poem by Rob Griffith

For Tiffany and Evie 


At dawn, in light still purple as a bruise, 

the dog and I slip out the door and walk 

a neighborhood of virgin stillness, his nails 

a thousand tiny match-strikes on pavement, 

my boots a counterpoint of bass. The sound 

unzips the silence as we go, the night 

unfolding to a birdsong warble bright 

as pain. There is nothing we don’t change. 

I shuffle through the leaves and make a scar, 

and even if I only stand and watch 

as night swings into day, I’ll cast my shadow, 

deprive some spot of earth its light. We turn 

for home where you both sleep in perfect peace. 

I shut the door as softly as I can 

then feed the dog and rummage in the fridge. 

I’ll tell myself again—step lightly, lightly. 


 American Arts Quarterly, Winter 2015, Volume 32, Number 1