At the Council of a Sleepless Solstice by Gillian Cummings

Just this light. And it might go on forever.
Stare straight. The sun wants your shadow long as a list of crimes.
Pardon the beggar her hassle. Pardon the thief his capture of night.

This is how we live the summer, in a blinding.
Blind to the sanderling but not the golden plover. Blind to the feathers of the moon.
Ask of me what I have wished. I’ll cup water to forget I, too, was snow.

Just this moment. And it might be that of my last breath.
Forget I ever wondered why harsh winds punish a lassitude of days.
Pardon night for abandoning us like cauldrons. Pardon unmendability.

This is why the sun admonishes our stony fields, strips hay to hearten our horses.
Blind to how it stitches the marshes with wort—the lakesides, hummocks, and bogs.
Ask forgiveness for what prayers you hold. Question tallow if melting is worth fire.

Just this light. And to be human is to be less than a candle.
Cradle, if you can, the paucity of the known. But reckon not with justice.
Pardon what you hear. Birds sing the dusk before midnight. Just after, they sing the dawn.
Gillian Cummings is the author of My Dim Aviary, winner of the 2015 Hudson Prize (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). She has also written three chapbooks, the most recent of which is Ophelia (dancing girl press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Boulevard, the Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, and in other journals.