The dark didn’t scare her.
It’s this way days

have grown long, like distances
between them of an evening.

It used to be they gathered
at the fire, had to draw near.

Maybe her husband played music,
but there was nothing more

to do until dawn. Since he’s been
working at the sawmill, and cut

the stand of wild cherry, she can see
town glowing in the valley, hear

the saws sing, but not him.
He doesn’t come home

until the coals are cold.
She eats in the kitchen while she cooks,

and reads the news, leaning into
the stove hood for its light.

The boy wants to get to town too.
Quick, eats what she hands him,

standing under the porch bulb,
while moths fly against it

and drop singed around them.
Then her son steps out

into the night.

Rose McLarney’s collections of poems are Forage, Its Day Being Gone, and The Always Broken Plates. She is coeditor of A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia and Southern Humanities Review, and an associate professor at Auburn University.