Nightfall

By Brad Leithauser

In Iceland, in early January,
when dusk begins at dawn,
alone in a wind-whipped shack,
I kneel as though cowering
before my little stove door.
Nights are immense, and my coal is black
as night.
     A geologist
in his lab might be able to say,
within a million years or so, just
when and where the coal’s towering
source-plants were laid down;
I only know, while waiting for
the room to warm, it was very
long ago, and far away.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/08/nightfall/305030/