Charles Rafferty has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism. He is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: The Man on the Tower, Where the Glories of April Lead, During the Beauty Shortage, and A Less Fabulous Infinity. Currently he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College. By day, he works as an editor for a technology consulting firm. Rafferty lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, with his wife and two daughters.
It wakes him up — the glow of his shirt
hanging in the bedroom closet,
the light leaking from beneath a door
that doesn’t quite want to close.
He is always thinking of a girl at such times,
the uneaten peach of her, the wetness
of where he might bite. The same light
follows him on midnight walks, a glare
that prevents him from enjoying
even the sharpest stars. Come morning
he takes down the shirt and buttons
around himself the familiar agony.
He knows it cannot be put out: The meadow
will blaze up if he rolls in the breeze
of its many fingers. The bouquet he picks
will droop and crisp before he can
make his way to her. Every night,
coming home alone, suffused with wine,
he is orbited by moths that flutter
and die beneath the million stars he has
never seen. He smells faintly of destruction,
the way a burnt-down house asserts itself
after even a misting of rain.