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A Nice Thing To Know

Aug 19, 2005

Poem to be read at 3 a.m.
- Donald Justice

Excepting the diner
On the outskirts.
The town of Ladora
At 3 a.m.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second-story room
A single light
Where someone
Was sick or
Perhaps reading
As I drove past
At seventy
Not thinking.
This poem
Is for whoever
Had the light on


I like how this poem speaks without seeming to of loneliness and the bridgeshaftsoflight that throw themselves across the dark distances that separate us as we travel the world 'at seventy' not stopping to knock at all the doors we pass behind which lie wide-awake strangers who somehow belong to our story.


The word comes from the Old Latin for All One. (I didn't make that up. It's true. Really). And I think maybe that's the truth this poem nudges at.

There is a stillness that comes when the rest of the world is sleeping. The rhythm of night is the easy regular rise and fall of dreamless breathing. And if you are awake in the depths of that stillness it touches something core to see a lighted window- reminds you in an unstated poignant friendly way that no matter how alone you feel driving a dark road falling off the map who knows where at 3 am- you're not.

And that is a nice thing to know.

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