POEM: We Ride The Line

We Ride The Line
By Alexandra Erin

First Publication: September 23rd, 2015


When night comes out,
it does not fall.
It just shows up
when the light dies.

The darkness was always there,
hiding behind the light.
I try to wrap my head around this,
look at the moon,
so pale in the morning sky.
I know it shines as bright in the blue
as it does against the black.

I know the stars are there
behind the glare, somewhere.
I know darkness is just what’s left
when light goes out of your world.

I don’t know what it means.
I just know it’s true.

We ride the line, she says.

I tell her I knew a girl like her once.
She tells me I’m mistaken,
I didn’t know that girl then
and I don’t know her now,
I’ve just confused real people
with the intersection
on a Venn diagram
between observable traits
and my own imagination.

She says she’s used to it,
she knows I’ll learn better.

We ride the line together,
tell our stories, say our prayers.
We pass from dark to light
and back again, frequent flyers
on the annual trip around the sun,
all expenses paid
one way, or another.

Daylight changes things
more than we’d like to admit.
Each time the light dies
we swear we’ll get it right
next time, tomorrow,
next year, time after that.
We burn up our somedays
like we’re made out of maybes,
like we’ll never run out.

We ride the line to the end.
Alone, we go around together.
Somewhere is a last stop
waiting for us.
Someday the fare box
will take our last pennies,
exact change
from one state of being to another.

Just like flipping a switch.
Just like shutting off a light.
The darkness is there already,
hiding behind it.

We ride the line.
Night does not fall.
It just comes out,
when the light dies.