A Match for the Darkness


Carnaptious
was a favourite word
to describe him drunk
on whisky.
When he’d snap
you’d hear the lead crystal
clunk the table
and his palm would slap
the rhythm of his arguments out,
each syllable another nail
to bang,
to put the lid on doubt.

And later in the night,
as the liquid pulled
the upside-down menisci
of his lids,
and the last of the drink
slid down
and swilled in his gut
and pooled there, we kids
would hear the late
night news
berate him,
and we’d wait

to catch the light-switch click,
a match for the darkness
which would stick to our hearts
in stale silence.

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13 thoughts on “A Match for the Darkness

  1. The clicks, clinks, and goonight light switches…I know them well : ) I love how you have articulated the waiting…the child’s breath held, until the last sound to know it will be ok, for now. Amazing how you include imagery, sound, and anticipation in one poem…wonderful!
    -Eva

  2. Well, Eva said it for me.. the waiting, the holding of breath until that click when you know you can find comfort again, at least for a while, under the duvet with the teddy bear. You caught the child’s fear, anticipation, well. Good write, Brian:)

  3. “to catch the light-switch click,
    a match for the darkness
    which would stick to our hearts
    in stale silence.”

    the relief i feel in those last lines, the silence is awful, but so much better than the angry din. so very well written.

  4. “to catch the light-switch click,
    a match for the darkness
    which would stick to our hearts
    in stale silence.”

    These words caught me too and I wonder if the darkness sticking to your hearts were memories you’d rather forget?

    Amazing write Brian.

    Amnna :o]

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