After the death of Heather Heyer, killed
August 12, 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia,

Will the darkness be harder
to lift today, the leaves, the air,
the sun weighed down
so that even the grazing geese
can’t lift their wings, their beaks
still craned to the grit of ground?

This morning, even the lampshades
look heavy, like hands cupping light
before pressing it down
to a thin line, a last breath.

And the shadow on the stairwell
has not gathered the light
gray of early day,
so I walk in blindness,
gripping the handrail and
feeling for steps
down and then
back up again.

As I climb those stairs,
I still hear the chants
of face-lit neo-Nazis
just down the road,
just west of here.

Have they and their torches
replaced the sun
with some new flag for day?

This darkness is heavy, a heart
blackened by the boil and burn
of hate rising like steam
churned in the air.

Perhaps the candlelight
of vigil and mourning,
of sacrifice,
is the light
that cracks open
the dark heart
of this day.