All I Could See I Named Darkness

by Rhett Iseman Trull

              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
              you stepped under
the patio lights and all the shadows
of the city

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.