by Elizabeth Volpe

He wants to manage the light
and so he changes all the switches
in the house to dimmers, just as he did
in our last house, and at the children’s houses.
While I putter, or read, or cook,
he fiddles with the circuit breakers,
and then I find myself muttering in the dark.

True, our evenings are softer
with my husband’s muted light,
free from the blare of bulb and lamp. See,
he says, as he rolls the switch between finger
and thumb, and the room lightens and darkens
at his direction. I wonder what it’s like
to live in his solar system.

Across the street the neighbors’ house
is alight. Last week it was a twenty-foot glow-in-the-dark
Michigan State Sparty. Now gigantic spiders and witches spin
through tree limbs, and orange lights pulse, pulse. I can see
it’s driving my husband nuts, all that fanfare,
and the yard lit up, blinking
into our bedroom as we try to sleep.

He doesn’t know what a traitor I am in the night,
enjoying the company of their carnival. Soon his soft snores
remind me how simple it is for him
to silence the light
and the dark. I move away, reach
for my bedside table, feel around for a lemon drop,
let it slide to the back of my tongue, imagine
it’s a small cool moon
I’m diminishing.