What Are Shadows in Darkness?

© Matthew Word Bain

long shadows melt into darkness
the recurring presence of which
is all that enables this small sun
to shine in any noticeable way

what does darkness for us?
what is darkness anyway?
I refer to its presence
and yet darkness itself
is an absence of light
and still, it has a presence
one every child knows well

how does absence have a presence?
perhaps the how is beyond our reach
in the wake of great loss, however
this presence comes to be known

just as the loss of light that comes
with every sinking of the sun
plunging half the world
into the primordial absence
whose presence we know well
and which we ever endeavor
to mitigate for ourselves

if you’ve ever used a laptop
or a flashlight outside in full sun
I won’t have to explain to you
just how feeble is the light
we make to ward off the dark

what does darkness for us
if not allow us to shine?