Marc Darnell

Good Night

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived— Emily Dickinson

A twilight choir sings your hour of lead,
Every verse a cross you’ve tried to bear.
The song will likely follow you to bed.

With all the nails, by now you should be dead,
But you’re alive behind this delicate door
To hear a choir that sings your hour of lead.

You’ve looked for partial bliss, you have the need
To end the aches and part with every scar
That holds you close and follows you to bed.

Ignore the melody and take the lead,
Leave all failures writhing on the floor
And face the fire that casts all hours of lead–

A turning point from all the tears you’ve shed
And thorns that tore your easy heart. There’s more
To life than fears that tuck you into bed.

Faith is a fine invention, Emily said–
Use it if it casts away the choirs
That weigh your head with endless years of lead.
Embrace it till it follows you to bed.


My brother hit me on the head with a bat.
I was maybe four, no, five.
The bump had red cracks, I paid for that,

staying small, dumb, nervous as a cat.
Since then I’ve never felt very alive–
sad, anxious, flighty as a bat,

close to drowning as a hurricane rat
in alcohol and sedatives–
my liver had red cracks, I paid for that

with no hunger and death close, I felt it,
but the fact I didn’t want to live
had nothing to do with the blow of a bat.

I was an oddity and that’s that,
born sensitive, emotionally massive,
full of wrath. I paid for that,

And being wack and flaked at
finding love breeds a soured fugitive.
My brother hit me on the head with a bat,
such red cracks, and I paid for that.


Marc Darnell is a floor tech and tutor in Fremont NE, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, busboy, editorial assistant, janitor, devout recluse, and incurable brooder–  leading to near auto collisions.  He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The HyperTexts, Quantum Leap, Aries, Ship of Fools, The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, Blue Unicorn, and The Pangolin Review.

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