I navigate the dark house by moving from the green star of the smoke detector to the blue star of the electric toothbrush. I am no different than Magellan or Marco Polo, I am guided by what burns. Some nights I step onto the back porch. The prow of it charges the blackness, while the stars above me sharpen and blur. Inside, I harbor the ache of what is no longer possible.
Famous people have been dying all week, and the Christmas tree just stopped drinking. Talk about omens. It's impossible to get the venetian blinds to stay level anymore. Everywhere I look, people are running the errands they won't remember by this time tomorrow. I remember how, years ago, I had to cut the fishing line caught in the high branches beside the Mullica River, sacrificing the lure that put a kink in my neck as I hunched over my own lap to tie it. I fear my wife will decide to spend my last decade on earth with a better man. I fear I'll be a footnote to somebody else's grandeur. I fear I'll die as painfully as I deserve. One by one, the bulbs of the chandelier go dead above our dining room table. I wish I could say the coming dark was taking me by surprise.