When Night Came

When night came
with its sharp teeth
clenched and quiet, it waited

for the slow curl of chimney breath
to float, white and heavy,
up to the amber sky.

this
is not a home

it muttered to a workman’s light
flickering through slits
in a ragged orange tarp.

not yet.

Rustling plastic
smothered hollow concrete
and snow-dusted plywood.

Somewhere in the distance,
beyond the ribs
of skinless condominiums,
a jet of flame broke the sky
into shards of brown glass.

this is not a home, night whispered
to the empty rooflines, to the soft light
of a single finished window.

wait.

~ Patrick M. Pilarski

Patrick M. Pilarski is the co-editor of DailyHaiku—an international journal of contemporary English-language haiku. His first full collection, Huge Blue, was released in September 2009 by Leaf Press, and he is the author of one chapbook, Five Weeks. Patrick’s work has appeared and is forthcoming in journals and anthologies across North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, recently including PRISM International, The Antigonish Review, the Literary Review of Canada, Carousel, and The New Quarterly. He lives in Edmonton, Canada, with his partner, poet Nicole Pakan.

“To me, ‘home’ is a rooting point, a place we fix to and branch out from. As in nature, it’s possible to have more than one set of roots—some at the spot where you first broke soil and some in runners that creep out across the dirt to take hold far from their source.”

Read more of Patrick M. Pilarski’s poetry:
Starting Over
so dark
short arc

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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