Afaa Michael Weaver

Night Rising
December 16, 2019 Weaver Afaa Michael

Night Rising
Silence falls in tiny waves, women shutting
off things, taking plugs from their ears,
the last slamming and thudding of iron threads
churning until motionless, the rushing home
to leave us here, the skeleton, caretakers, rags
stuck in our back pockets. I make my way
to the paper cutter, old and massive thing late
for the grave, the last of its kind, black iron
smooth with memories of hands that cut paper
all night, the city rising slowly up to its edges
to where wonder settles over the questions
of cities, how they upend history’s dreams
of ending time, the gross menagerie of wars,
settling into the mundane, the murmuring.


I take a fifty pound pack of paper, wrestle
the thing on the table to kill its resistance,
the straight contract of making that put bricks
in places that became houses, streets, children
running out back doors to escape what falls
inside us as we are shut away in small spaces,
to lose ourselves, cursed to make the earth new.
The blade touches the back edge of the paper,
a sharpness cutting the light. I count, I breathe
into houses around me going dark with hands
as neat as whispers of what used to be as busy
trains head out west, the city’s limit now blind,
the night shift everywhere over our insomnia,
in our body, made one by what we have won.

Afaa Michael Weaver formerly known as Michael S. Weaver, is an American poet, short story writer and editor.