By Shaun Poust
My home is drowning in the warm flood of a summer night—I am preserved in my room, at my desk. I can see the night sky through the windows from where I sit in my chair, but it remains a distant background, an untouchable inky ocean that eats the world outside but has no form itself. It carries feelings of sleepiness, romance, and danger. I long to be consumed by its strangeness.
My lamp, which is brass and obscene and lacks a shade, emits a bright light. It is an obnoxious light that announces to anyone who sees its shrill brilliance shooting out from my windows: Here is Shaun, awake and alone in a bubble of untimely alertness. It protects me from the night to which I belong at this time. I turn it off, and the flood enters my room, carrying with it all the perils and excitement of the unseen.
I let the night bathe me. I breathe in her silky darkness; it enters my body gladly, slinks down my throat and pulses through my arteries, delivering her splendors to every cell. In my stillness I can no longer sense a difference between myself and the wind, which is her lips, the sky, which is her face, and the shadows, which are her breasts. I close my eyes and the hair on my neck stands erect; the night continues to carress me while I join it in the anonymity of darkness and fall into semi-conscious bliss.
The night wraps me in her erotic pleasures. I indulge in the sounds of rustling branches brushing one another to produce waves of private whispers. I am overcome by the grasshoppers’ tingling symphony, twinkles and chirps with strange rhythms that seem coherent but undulate before I can comprehend their pattern. The insects’ song has no ending, of course, no release. It merely plays and, like the night, consumes. Never can it come to any conclusion, for always, just before climax, day announces itself with the blare of sunlight—and the evening wonders vanish, discontented. That is why we sleep: We cannot bear to experience the night only to know that it will be taken from us before we have felt its whole.
Such agony is it that night cannot be captured! Such torture is it that as soon as I turn on my lamp, making it possible to record the beauty of the night, to scribble with my pen of her majesty, does the lamp’s garish luminosity cause me to forget all but her simplest wonders and my most basic emotions.
I turn my lamp off and run to my window, engaging my muse in a silent dialogue. I feel her and I try to carry her with me. I try to put her in my pen, and I do so, but by the moment I clumsily turn on my lamp to write she has already slipped from my grasp.
Once more I turn off my lamp and hurry to grab all I can of the night. Why won’t she stay with me? She tickles me and taunts me now, tugging at me from all sides, mocking me with her freedom and her power.
Why can I gaze into your eyes, that mysterious infinite, only sometimes? Let me capture you, Night. Live forever with me.
I sigh and slouch in my chair, enjoying what I can of the night but knowing that she will always evade me and always refuse to be known completely. I love her touches and embraces; it is with stabbing pain that I see the first glint of sunlight.