Milk Chocolate and Red

My mind thinks in terms of four o’clock. 

Four, when I’d had to get ready for work. 

Four, the only number that has two colors, 

milk chocolate and red. 

Four, the number of children, including me. 

My soul thinks in terms of late afternoon light,

And this is why I prefer it almost entirely. 

Rarely do my mind and soul match up, and this is no exception. 

Four o’clock light has no place among late afternoons. 

Four o’clock light is the light of half-finished day,

It’s not hopeful enough to be considered late afternoon light. 

Late afternoon light promises a sunset, 

Which promises that a day has passed, and that you have lived to see it. 

Four o’clock light promises nothing— except perhaps a nap for the oldfolk (and, admittedly, myself).

Four o’clock light is still dead from the three o’clock hour, sacred. 

Three o’clock is basically noon, and noon says you still have half a day to go until night,

And nobody likes that thought—            except perhaps the optimists. 

If I were still an optimist, perhaps I would prefer noon to it’s older self,

But I am not and so I don’t—                 except perhaps when I’m six again and noon says church is done. 

Now I dread noon and beg for the mercy of soft late afternoon light’s caress 

across my newly shorn soul, 

for the streaming tendrils of the day’s near-end to lift a lock of hair from my left ear,

And whisper, 

“Time to go.”

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