The Morning After
Time is strange;
The world is strange.
Behold the world!
Behold the strange, timeless world;
Spinning, madly spinning beneath maddening skies;
Beneath the star-strewn heavens of blackest night,
Like a bird in flight.
Like some dark, nocturnal bird in flight;
Flinging itself against the night.
Behold the night!
The suffocating, exhilarating, intoxicating night.
The sightless, nameless, blameless night.
Erect the altar, commit the rite!
The sacred rite of night;
Hidden from the view of God and sun.
“Where are you, Adam?”
The Word was unheard,
Unheeded, unneeded, undone.
“Can you tell me how to get to Park Avenue?”
I asked the man in dark glasses smoking a cigarette.
“Turn left at the next red light” he said,
Shaking his head as I drove on,
But the light was not red.
I woke the next morning to the smell
Of coffee from the downstairs café;
Staring at the ceiling, at the paint that was peeling,
And at the paint that lay beneath.
Through the window I noticed
That the sky was gray.
When you sit silently you can hear
The sounds of the world outside:
The passing cars and the train,
A plane flying overhead,
The barking of a dog,
A whistle, a siren,
A symphony of horns – the sound of a traffic jam;
The Italian man at his vegetable stand,
The church bell’s toll,
The crack of a bat at a baseball game;
And maybe, the song of a bird.
Steven Lewis Akins, a native of Jasper, Alabama, was born in 1966 and spent his early years as a resident of Birmingham. An alumni of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where he studied visual arts, he later went on to find expression for his interests in history and social commentary through creative writing and poetry. He currently resides in his home town of Jasper with his wife and two children.