Even at Night My Heart Instructs Me

Don’t go, she says. It’s dark.
The cold is hardly worth the stars.

There’s nothing there you haven’t seen
before. The unjust sky,

your finite breath, its plank
across the well’s broad mouth –

no words in
or out. Stay with me,

and feel our shoulders sink,
weight of useless muscle like a song

we need not lift again.
See the cup on the nightstand? Empty,

poured out, dry and tired. Sleep.
But something restless stirs against decay.

My heart defies the empty cup
and bellows in my wrists and throat:

Rejoice! This throbbing pulse,
this store of life within the bone:

this is your inheritance: a sky replete
with stars, their fireshine a map

spent in what it gives
of hope, direction in the night,

and you no longer frail, you warrior,
you prince, awake

in the sharp thrill of pain
that fires the blood

and so turns you to star, to guiding
life and light. Get up. Go out. There’s more than this to see.