See in the Dark

Shattering dry scales
of loblolly bark
into clatter rain, the race 
and commotion of two gray squirrels
sounds like buck & doe
bursting through laurel,

and the drift & stir
of long dry needles falling
across our necks
becomes the unwelcome prick
of many-jointed legs;

now the light leaves us wholly
to the constriction of our fears,
a path so commonplace when winding
through the day
twists mystery in darkness:
we follow one thin beam
held head-high to fend
the grope of branches – it pierces

a field of jewels,
fallen stars, reflected sparks
bright emerald & amber . . .
beads of dew?
blood of tree sap? We kneel
to find within each glint
a spider’s eye – 

through the night we pass 
the phantom self, but all the while
it watches.

For Michael, Sue & Caren . . . that night
September 15, 2006

Bill Griffin
is a family physician in rural North Carolina.  His poems have appeared in many regional and national journals including Tar River Poetry, Poem, NC Literary Review, and Southern Poetry Review.  In 2010 the choral suite The Wanderer’s Carols, lyrics by Bill, music by Mark Daniel Merritt, premiered at Biltmore House in Asheville NC for Christmas.  Bill’s chapbook Snake Den Ridge, A Bestiary (March Street Press 2008), set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and  illustrated by his wife, Linda French Griffin, can be sampled at

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