Part Darkness, Part Sky

Gabriela De Paz

Noah Falck


We sat cross-legged near the lake 
where the wind became itself. 

Every sort of siren 
in the distance. 

And the mountains 
way, way off 
dressed like a flood. 

Too many things happen at once, 
we say without saying. 

We start at the beginning.

A story that never finishes on time.
We are never finished with time. 

A month later we are still alive.

It’s raining sideways 
on a Wednesday 
that shimmers open. 



By morning I learned 
how to listen. 

You laughed a Saturday 
out of your body. 

Tears would come later, 
smeared careful 
over the contours of your face. 

And I’d see the young you 
hurt in the hunger of dark 
as the season crossed the lake. 

We spoke of it 
while walking to the river 
in the last hour of us.




In the early morning
we rise half-lidded on a damp earth.

Our voices soft in 
the aqua of our throats.

The clouds bright
in a blizzard swept light.

I’ll never see you again,
the stranger tells us on the train.

We look out the window
until it snows the horizon away.

Then we are in a forest.
The trees bending their wooden torsos.

We are not young.
We never will be again.




The night is the head of a dog 
lowering is a collision we watch 
from lawn chairs on a spit of grass 
at the edge of the lake is a shadow 
doubling as a birthmark is the city 
at night inside a storm sculpted across 
a television is the light letting go between 
seasons is music is electricity flooding 
the ever after out of us is December
is the January of her face quilted with 
kisses is how we dream more than death.




It is the hour of eager light, 
of possibility, though some say 

the hour of grief when the gods 
of beautiful weather retreat 

to their silver caves
and your mind wants 

to mother a new language
but mostly looms 

in a geography of shame. 
Still, you animal the shy streets.

You panic attack the evening,
the air drunk with listening ghosts.

Everyone you know 
is a headache away.

An entire city looking 
out their windows 

howling at whatever 
looks like a moon.



You chase shadows 
around an abandoned playground.

Nothing’s recognizable
in the avant-garde of dark.

That’s how darkness works, 
you say.

Then you make the sound of a bird 
trapped in the mouth of a cat.

It’s not music.

Slowly the cold arrives 
and the tall buildings in the distance  
begin to glow like rusted out stars.

Your eyes blink bright
in their drinking of the world.




Did you know the shadows
played the part of sadness
in the decade before we met?

And the trees swooned 
slow like a secret
between old lovers. 

You got better with age
was the mood I was in 
that afternoon on the Hudson. 

Maybe an emptiness
made out of October
I couldn’t apologize for

or that long drive 
into the middle of the state 
where all the flags hung like fire. 

I remember standing in a room 
the color of dropped pennies
holding hands with strangers in masks.

Midnight came and went. 
We stood still, together,
part darkness, part sky.



Gabriela De Paz

Gabriela De Paz is from the Bay Area and studied art at City College of San Francisco. She enjoys using a variety of mediums including watercolor, collage, and photography. In 2016 she moved to Spain where she has been exhibited in both group and solo shows. She is currently studying ceramics at the Escola d’Art i Superior Cerámica Manises, in Valencia, Spain.

Noah Falck

Noah Falck is the author of Exclusions (Tupelo Press, 2020), finalist for the Believer Book Award in Poetry, and You Are In Nearly Every Future (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017). His poetry appears in the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Poetry Daily, and He lives in Buffalo, New York.