In the moment between day’s end and settling into sleep, things that have broken vanish in a glowing sphere around the brass Victorian lamp my neighbor Ed gave us as a wedding present, turned on his lathe in the falling-down barn behind our houses, where I rambled through alfalfa and clover in the pulse of crickets, under miles of spilling stars encircling me like the vision of paradise that day I felt life leave my dog and saw him run gladly through the endless green, his spine harboring a bullet. Notice how I have avoided speaking of the day we met. I am tired of complaining about your black gaze. You were the dream girl become flesh. You made a lamp out of a wine bottle filled with lentils, split peas, garbanzos, for the beside table I built of plywood and glued cork. We were just starting out.

RALPH EARLE holds a doctorate in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and works for a large software development company. He teaches evening poetry classes at Central Carolina Community College, and has also taught poetry at UNC-Chapel Hill and the ArtsCenter of Carrboro, NC. Recent poems have appeared in The Sun, Sufi Magazine, Tar River Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, Cairn, and Redheaded Stepchild. His collection, The Way the Rain Works, is the winner of the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. He has recently moved from his long-time home of Chapel Hill to Apex, NC.