Tending Shadows

What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?

Shakespeare Sonnet 53



The shaft of light is taken as a celestial sign. A proclamation. Here, where the golden beam is dimmed to dying by a clog of worldly particles, she considers the nondescript body deposited at regrettable angles. A criminal accustomed to the protection of shadows, it seems that death is eager to pinpoint exactly where evil has fallen, a final stab at one who loved by knife's edge. A bad man's passing warrants no mourning but the pretty light that graces the valiant casts an equal shine on villainy.

Another stands beneath the muted glow, a streetlamp upon which she has bestowed deity. He documents the end of life with an impassive eye while the shroud of choked yellow drips radiance across his shoulders.

(The light is allowed to touch him.)

With open eyes, the corpse traces her progress with the interest afforded to those merging with eternity. Never blinking. Always following. Seeing nothing and yet… She wonders what the underworld offers the newly arrived. Perhaps the power to see from the window of unsealed optics. That she could be the wicked man's last sight makes her scratch the blind gaze from her skin.

Working beside the drenching stain of death, his beauty is untainted.

When he leaves the body and the tattletale light to their contest of wills, his hand finds her hip to coax her away. She's leaning at an improper slant toward the axis of his aura and prays he doesn't notice.

(She bequeaths her heartbeat to him.)

The dark is a cordial master, inviting shadows to leap, to dance and they are surrounded by such compelling portents. She fears at times what cannot hurt her. Because while there is no sensation in shadows that drape across her, she cannot banish them without being the one who moves. They are intrusive, seeking no permission and their embrace promises nothing pure.

She strikes against night's silhouette children but they are siblings to the light, alternately hiding and revealing every urge she struggles to quell. Others dodge and scatter when she lashes out but the shadows are more stubborn.

Though her fearful tongue slices into him, calculated torture in the chamber of her doubt, he remains. She has spent countless hours chasing him away but it simply means she doesn't run alone.

(You always hurt the one you…)

What cannot be seen does not exist and thus night is forgiven its mischief once the sun swallows it whole. The light is everywhere now, inescapable, and he is an angel under its taunting kiss. And she abhors the day for its presumptions. To touch him is a curse since it must be done secretly and stealth never satisfies. Accidental is her every caress, watching his reaction as one who studies a sacred object for the unlocking of mysteries.

Pretense is their only breath.

(Is there life is suffocation?)

It is only in the imminent twilight that she applies comparative logic to the problem. She will not heed the shadows that emerge to fester on her wounds as she analyzes; that they will not retreat at her command no longer surprises. Her mind is chewing on the issue, spitting out portions at a time and ingesting the rest.

Pretty light graces the evil and the good.

If the face of iniquity can merit illumination, can see beyond the steady grip of death, perhaps if she is repentant enough she can gain his luminosity. The particulates floating in the beam may be her sins but he is sufficient to outshine them. And if what she cannot see does not exist, she will close her eyes and trust this is the origin of forgiveness.

(He sets the shadows running.)