Dustin Pearson

The Forest in Winter at Sunset ca. 1846–67
Théodore Rousseau French

A Region Without Radiance

When I suffer, my friend
is the last to know.
I don’t tell him,
because even though
it’s the only means
by which he’ll love me
more than he has,
he’ll also enjoy it.
As a friend, you can’t
express want openly for
another friend’s hurting.
In good times,
you’ve lashed out
violently at those
you’ve seen trying
to hurt your friend,
so when it happens
off-screen, naturally,
you’re relieved. You can
come silver-winged
from your perch
in the woods, singing.
Friend, you were happy
for me for so long,
and I saw you, only half
knowing how much
I was asking of you
to see me living
in the moment
for which you
were still waiting,
so this time I called you.
You came to see me
a still, crushed thing,
one eye wide to bulging,
the other sloping
under swollen, half shut lids.
I called you to say sorry,
to let you know that
I’ve always understood this:
as much as it’s impossible
to share radiance
in a region without it,
it’s just as important
to share darkness. I love you,
I never meant to leave you there,
never meant
to make you think
I didn’t have it.

Dustin Pearson is the author of A Season in Hell with Rimbaud (BOA Editions, 2022), Millennial Roost (C&R Press, 2018), and A Family Is a House (C&R Press, 2019). He is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Toledo.

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Spring 2022