In a Fragment, Dusk

Blue Black, 1970, Lithograph, from Series of Ten
Lithographs, Ellsworth Kelly

When he slashes blue on a whetstone of black,
dusk enters your body.
The way a river runs.
The way a thick-aired summer presses.
The way snow sifts like salt over the tops of boots.


In the city, dusk rises up from greasy streets,
its flat, no-moon, no-stars blue
erasing all traces of the day's light. Buildings
soak up the new night's ink and turn black,
becoming an emptiness you lean against.


But if you lean long enough
against the light-lost brick of yourself,
you drop into his blue, into
something deep—gillnet, kettle, kloof—
and you find there fish to be caught,
the soup of your life to be stirred,
and the shadows you carry,
lengthening and moving through.


Traffic noise pitches to a heart-hum.
Birds hush.
The blue deepens. The edge blurs.
Ghost moths start to open.
Not in the dusk, but in you.

—Susan Elbe