The Aurora Borealis reminds me
of the disappointed—
the bum on the street, the little girl
not invited to the party.
Early one fall I saw it.
I stood on the back patio at 3am
and made out, finally, the streaked sky—
washed out colors indistinct
against the dark.
3am for this, I thought, retuning to bed,
the magnetic flexure of air carrying on
its vexed dance without me.
The bum wakes from his cold nap
and the little girl turns on the TV.
I lie sleepless for the rest of the night.
What has become of the fullness
we have been promised?
In the wood lot, owls have left
the bones of mice—
so many under the green pines.
Day after day of enumeration.
The sun’s white disk behind early fog,
too weak to cast shadows—
so that things must stand for themselves,
frost-edged, claiming their own territory.
“Sweet Plenitude” is reprinted from The New Poet.
Mark Simpson’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Hiram Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Faultline, and Poetry Quarterly, and online in Full of Crow, Albatross, and Dialogist. He works in Seattle as writer for an instructional design firm. A chapbook, Fat Chance, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.