The Dark House – by Michael Hettich

Trust the simple things, she said then, to lead us
through this dark house, hands outstretched to feel
what we can’t see, as we touch a wall,
a table, or a chair we can sit in and wait
for morning. Maybe we’ll talk of small pleasures

or just listen to each other’s breath. We might seem to see
dreams flicker through our open eyes,
though it needs to be darker, even darker than it is now,
and they only flicker briefly. Don’t be scared.
We can hold hands and listen for our heartbeats, and maybe

if we can locate a window in the wall,
we can open it and let the outside darkness
rush in with its clarity and wildness; we can sit here
talking of what we imagine must live
out there, waiting for first light–like we are–

or moving through the dark like the moon does, pulling
the tides inside us, oceans we might even
swim out in, naked and warm, until morning
when we’ll be out of sight, so far from shore
our lives there might go on without us.


Michael Hettich has published over a dozen full-length books of poetry, most recently The Mica Mine, which won the 2020 Lena Shull Book Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society and was published in 2021. A “new and selected” volume, The Halo of Bees: New and Selected Poems, 1990-2022, is forthcoming from Press 53 in May, 2023. He has published widely in journals. His website is