To an Ancestor Writing at Night
by Reuben Torrey

Your shoulders shrug a hunch up
in the darkness where your body is.

Your face leans in and floats over
your desk, receiving from a candle

the room’s only light.
Shadows cut shapes in your features—

pale mountain nose, dark craters of
the eyes—like the desolate

topography of a planet
known only through photographs.

It is the breath of a turning page
that makes the candle glow to wobble,

and the shadows to ricochet
around the room, as though they were

mapping out your elusive thought—
which you glimpse—before the candle glow

and the darkness steady themselves.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.