Night Vision


My father taught me to see in the dark 
on winter nights, on country roads.
We walked beyond the headlights and the streetlights 
to where the fields slept under an empty sky.
He’d stop, and I would stand with stinging cheeks.
“There, you see?” he’d say.
I looked with my city eyes, and saw nothing.

“There.” He’d point.
I’d follow his finger and stare until shadow
upon shadow took shape and pattern.

My eyes would follow a snap, a rustle, 
an icy crunch—I’d spy blackness
moving against mere dark.

“There,” he’d say again, and finally,
I would see.
Streak of deer, drumming woodcock,
lumbering raccoon,
swiftly sliding fox.

“You see?” he’d say, and I did.
I saw that the sleeping fields were full of life.
I  learned that night is never black, never still.
I learned that to see, you must know how to look.

My father taught me to see in the dark.