Too many cracks precede 
the spectacular breaking. Each 

story begins in a different dark-
ness. And light: think how it catches

on any surface (pane or 
hinge or keyhole) and 

out of night (out of nothing), 
all at once: a window, 

a door. It’s a metaphor 
(and then it isn’t), darkness. 

When I dream again
it’s the old kitchen—I 

open the oven and sound, 
like ropes of heat, drifts 

out; a shimmering. Familiar 
and confusing. Uncanny,

and then unmistakable: our 
voices, recorded. Playback 

and loop, now—every aching 
word we whispered here.

Copyright © 2023 by Nancy Kuhl. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 12, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.