Tonight, to believe in God seems impossible. Only the mythology
we recite against the dark. I am walking alone
on the beach at the mouth of the bay.
September, the sand cool beneath my bare feet.
I have chosen to walk in darkness in order to take in
what I cannot see—the small mouthings
of the waves as they roll across the tideline stones
and retreat again
the comforting predictability of their rhythm,
and the night air full of salt and the scent
of barnacle-crusted wrack left hours earlier by the high tide,
the musty-ripe smells of the marsh
beyond the row of scrub pines. If there were a moon
it would lay a trail across the darkness, but there is no moon,
only a faint phosphorescence on the waves—
a magic that illuminess nothing of importance.
Even the stars have retreated behind a spread of high clouds.
—Patricia Fargnoli, section IX of “Pemaquid Variations” in Then, Something (Tupelo Press, 2009)