[39] Silencing the Light, James Fleet Underwood

You’re given a pencil and some paper
and asked to draw a picture
though you’ve never been a visual person
or particularly dexterous with implements of the hand
and you’re puzzled by this invitation to an intimacy
you’ve been handed but rather than speak up
because like anybody else you don’t want to be left standing
outside the party when the singing starts
you lick the tip of the pencil like you’ve seen in movies
and get to work without guidelines or instructions
your brow furrowed and intent pure
grind the pencil to the nub
drawing and shading
unaware of the air being let out of the balloon of time
or the silencing of the light
feel pleased having given it your best effort
even thinking there’s something of curiosity or maybe worth
in what you’re looking at between your hands
but the feet you followed have walked the voice out of the room
and on the other side of the door or out the window
maybe on the next block over
you hear clapping and people learning a song

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