Gears of the Night
for Jennifer Simpson
The night before Christmas,
people were busy in their lit houses.
The moon kept revolving all the same.
The tide headed out, then returned,
headed out, and returned.
The shoreline breathed the rhythm.
The bugs bored into the trunks
of the trees behind the factory.
Tick, tick, tick went their tiny teeth.
The metal slats across the overpass
clattered each time a car drove past:
Then, the traffic cleared
and only crickets sang.
Out from the darkness, a pickup sped by
and the pigeons under the bridge
lifted in a swirl and swooped away.
There was a snail working
his way up a drainpipe.
He’d stopped and rested some hours,
his slime hardening on the corrugated metal.
With no fanfare at all,
he returned to his journey up the pipe.
The moon noticed but said nothing.
Why would it.
On Christmas Eve,
outside of the busy, lit boxes,
the gears of the night turned onward.
“Gears of the Night” is dedicated to Dawn’s dear friend, Jennifer Simpson, devoted writer and literary community member extraordinaire. Jennifer led Dime Stories in Albuquerque, was co-founder of Plume: A Writer’s Companion, volunteered for years at the Children’s Grief Center, and among her many other efforts, she hosted the drop-in writing group, where Dawn wrote this poem one year ago.
On December 12, Jennifer Simpson suddenly passed away. She was a beautiful ally to many people, in countless ways. This piece is shared in tribute to her influence on the writing community. Go to talkstorypublishing.com to learn more about Jenn’s various projects and check out the fine books her press published.
Dawn Sperber’s stories are forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction and Zizzle Literary, and her fiction and poetry have appeared in Bourbon Penn, We’Moon, NANO Fiction, Going Down Swinging, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in New Mexico, where she’s a writer and editor. You can find more of Dawn’s work at dawnsperber.com.