Last night, in a charming bid to avoid bedtime, one of my three-year-olds asked me, "Where does shadows go?" I stood in the dark doorway explaining about darkness and light until they seemed satisfied. Then, when the other boy woke at 3 am in a soaked bed, my little imp asked me to tell him again, in a less charming bid to avoid sleep, where the shadows go. That time I told him to go to sleep, we'd talk about it in the morning. But when I got back to bed, the question tickled my imagination and in the morning this poem was found in the question's fading shadow. Enjoy!
Now faith is . . . the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
"Tell me again, Mommy, where does the shadows go?"
By morning’s light, my love, as dawn creeps
over the mountain, I roll them up tight, every shape
that echos an object. Soft like velvet, slipping smoothly
through my hands, I gather the night’s shadows,
tucking them into the far corners of your closet
and behind the attic door. All day long they wait,
deepening, exuding the smell of the rich,
dark earth, of damp caves and mushroom spores.
When evening descends and you’re busy with dessert,
I roam the house, stretching shadows out again,
smoothing them flat across ceiling or floor,
these soft shapes of remembrance, the dark reminders
that what you cannot see does not cease to exist
when the lights go out. Shadows lengthen, like faith,
as darkness descends, reminders of things unseen,
until morning's light reveals what was always present.