What is it about evening light? Especially when it’s remembered, like when the birds / were quieter // than the trees2 and the trees were quieter than thought—how something like that can seem true, even though now, as evening light fills my apartment, birdsong drowns out the trees. And yet, every evening the stirring of leaves3 in late autumn and early winter. I find it strange that the two, late autumn and early winter, look and feel the same but aren’t. I guess time, somehow, really does make a difference.


Years ago, in the evening light near Dove Cottage, I stood with strangers—fellow study abroad students—and looked out onto the Lake District. Beyond the fog of late autumn (or early winter?), I could see the highway gashing through the fells, murky under traces of cloudlight, the overcast like a burial shroud falling, folding, then falling again upon a mosaic of lakes and pools, water like shards of mirror scattered among congregations of downy willow.


I remember feeling at home, but I didn’t know why. To be honest, I still don’t. But no matter how groundless that sensation might have been, I felt it nonetheless and even tried to will myself toward belief. And still, with all that was wrong there—and even here, here now being home in upstate New York, but still far from my actual home in suburban Chicago, and further still from my ancestral home in rural Louisiana…does the route home even have a destination?—and for all that was not, for I could not and cannot tell the difference, I was ready to leave that moment of home.


We rode back down the highway, back into the valley, back into Keswick, toward the light, as it faded, grey with the vow of more rain, before it was all gone. From there, the memory fades to nothing, like how there is nighttime in / the lungs of frogs, and in / the hollow of a tree,4 or like how conjuring a faded memory ceases to be a matter of finding and fixing the details of something that happened—when that something and its happening disappear as if they no longer exist, like being written out of history, though time is inescapable even in the dark of night—and becomes a matter of tending to the corner / where the light does not shine, and the moss / quietly grows.5


Too much of us depends on memory, which is why, in the nighttime spaces of forgetting, something new insists on living. Thank goodness. For in the forgotten is home.

1    The title comes from a traditional Christian hymn entitled “Come, Ye Disconsolate.”

2    Yam, Daryl, “Evening Poems: 2. Noon is Night,” 9–11.

3    Yam, Daryl, “Evening Poems: 5. Coda,” 1.

4    Yam, Daryl, “Evening Poems: 3. Migration,” 14–16.

5    Yam, Daryl, “Evening Poems: 5. Coda,” 8–10.