All I Could See I Named Darkness

by RHETT ISEMAN TRULL

Until you, lit, tapped me on the shoulder the night of Kari’s party—Kari, lost among her entourage, and me on the periphery, thinking I might slip the scene without notice, as always. But then, as the man whose parents let him rename himself Flash gunned his motorcycle to wheel the fair Kari away and leave me friendless, you introduced yourself, as if all evening you’d been waiting for the moment the beautiful crowd might part and there I’d be. I’d thought myself invisible, self-exiled to the edges. All summer, come midnight, I’d been sulking the streets, apartments illumined where something was happening: a couple kissing, curtains undrawn; or a phone announcing its call—surely, from someone’s new crush; someone, it seemed, for everyone but me, spinster already, wick never fired. I figured this was the life for me, like it or not: voyeur of the neighborhood, popcorn dinner for one, one wine glass wearing a ring of red in the sink. At least I could do as I thought I pleased: stay out until the bars flicked off the music, on the lights; let the tattoo artist christen me with his needle— on my shoulder, a wolf howling with such longing I thought its moon absent until you stepped under the patio lights and all the shadows of the city shifted.

RHETT ISEMAN TRULL’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2008, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and other publications. Her awards include prizes from the Academy of American Poets and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received her B.A. from Duke University and her M.F.A from UNC Greensboro, where she was a Randall Jarrell fellow. She and her husband publish Cave Wall in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her manuscript The Real Warnings was selected by contest judge Sheryl St. Germain as winner of the 2008 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.