It was not the suddenness of its apparition that frightened me most, though I was startled: the white haze of it suspended, breath-like, in the smooth dark of the kitchen window when I looked up from the sink. Form was all I could discern—the visible self severed from its significance, like the lines I scrawled on a chalkboard decades ago, as punishment, the physical ache strengthening as each word more and more divorced itself from meaning. It must have been mine because I could feel the pain of the loss of it. The other, interior self grew weak with its loss, the ubiquitous darkness pressing the two apart, the void halving and hollowing me. I cannot take what is terrible and turn it into beauty: the drab, slack mouth, the puckering skin, the dark eyes rising from the darkness beyond them. Still the terror of that foreignness possesses me, acute and solid. I was only trying to look past the glass. There in the night the stars and the fireflies burned on, unaware of the limits of their lives.

JULIANA DAUGHERTY is a student in the MFA program at the University of Virginia. Her poetry is forthcoming in The Asheville Poetry Review.