POETRY: “The Night Before Tomorrow”

The Night Before Tomorrow

Black above as far as the neck will stretch
Dark night sky, ear to ear black
But for the fireflies alit
And the stars that dance with white twinkles
And the faint smudge from 12 th Street
Aloft across the roof
Under the dome
Down to behind Billy’s dad’s house
Where the Moon sleeps during winter nights

Special shadows live at night
Some crawl from yellow street lamps
Others live in the ballpark by the stands
Where popcorn wafts and salted peanut shells hide
During Summer days but disappear when the Sun rests
After a long day surveying, cresting over the lake
And the birds retreat to their nests in the maple trees
Bluebirds and robins and brown birds with no names

Sometimes the sky explodes in crimson ribbons and pink petals
Night swallows day’s colours as a fish might play with a worm
A nibble or two to tease a ripple on the surface
And the colours are absorbed when the Sun tucks itself in
And rolls over until tomorrow
When bright and early before the milkman left a glass bottle or two

The kind that have a bulb shape at the neck to catch the cream
And the smells of breakfast stir juices in tummies

One day just like that a new dawn arose
That’s what cousin Billy said that night
But it seemed to me that kindergarten was the same
We played and napped and filled in lines with colours
And it didn’t rain, but we did have chocolate donuts
Still warm from the bakery where Nanny worked
And my brother and I fought about something
That was very important at the time

Still Billy called me outside after dark
Almost past bedtime and pointed up
“Do you see that” he said
And I knew he was joking so I said “Yeah.”
“Do you know what that is?”
“Yeh, a sky full of night and stars”
“No, that one is not a star but it is moving, see . . . “
“Where? Oh, I see. So what.”
“I don’t get it?” I whispered, not for the last time.
“What’s Telstar?”

Written By: Thomas A. E. Hesketh

About the Author: Thomas A. E. Hesketh was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on a cusp, in the last half of the last century of the last millennium; none of it his fault. He enjoys poetry because of its verbal range, except the caesuras, and chess because it is non-verbal, except the regicide.

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