ASCENT, Judson Simmons

ASCENT
by Judson Simmons

All stores are closed.  The streets 
have died and are beginning 
their slow ascent beneath haloed 
streetlamps.

Sidewalks run dim, darkness awakens 
inside the grocers and laundromats –
like a hunger rising 
from the pit of a stomach.  

Today’s newspaper tells us
yesterday’s news.  The last car 
that drove past sat idling at a red light 
turned green – left turn signal 
flashing in cold rhythm, 
the blinker wrapping around 
an electric poll like a poster 
with someone’s lost dog.  

Believe me when I say 
I can count the number of stars 
littering this sky tonight. 

Believe me when I tell you 
that silence is the one thing
we will carry forever.

                       I’m tired of 
the simplest of things,
tired of falling head first
into a night that surrenders to darkness.

Far from being at peace,
even further from believing –

let me tell you a story: it begins 
with silence, 
ends with silence.
Judson Simmons is a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College graduate writing program, and holds a BA in English from the University of Houston. He also holds an MSEd in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College. His chapbook, The Hallelujah Hour, was published by Amsterdam Press, and his work has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Evergreen Review — plus other journals.
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