Reverse Twilight

Twilight we have a word for. That’s the light left over after sunset. But the light before sunrise we have no name for, the reverse twilight: the prescient, pink eye of the east, the blind seer that says, “There is more.” I would be dead if it were not for the before-light of dawn. Thinking in the past perfect, the past was perfect, was good enough at least for me, for my part, I tried, but the pink sky doesn’t speak in the past tense. It says good morning, get ready. I’m not done with you yet.  


Each raindrop ripples like a pond

on the wet deck board. Blood-

puddled. The stone dropped radiates

in concentric circles how we

return after shock waves to the still

heart of things, a rabbit standing

stock-still in the rain, the glass-eye

of the grass field’s ruminating

cow. Crisis is. Contains two is’s.

Sparked debate once raged

returns to silence. Sizzled out,

silence, today’s shooting.

A Family Portrait

Screams melt the faces of my children

in the basement at bedtime. Echo chamber.

Daddy’s on chemo. Already tucked in,

beside the finally sleeping newborn. And

here we have these kids who won’t stay in bed,

who still giggle somehow and chant about

our butts and burps despite their scowling parents.

Eventually sleep falls, or do we fall, asleep,

and sleep smooths out our faces? Before dawn,

the sky turns lavender. Bird sanctuary loud

in late May. Daddy huddles under a blanket awake.

Sipping coffee in cold air, guilty of a poem.  


Cameron Morse (he, him) is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is The Thing Is (Briar Creek Press, 2021). He holds an MFA from the University of Kansas City-Missouri and lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife Lili and three children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.