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by Matthew Jakubowski

At night, in the deep-woods darkness, it feels as if there is no time. There is only mind. Only the present. Water does not fall or flow in that place. It rests, singing, while holding still. We practice there. Along the path we cannot see, we move ahead by the scent of a certain decay, or a distant fire. By the endless river-chorus of crickets and frogs. Across the layered ground gathering and decomposing to feed itself. When I was little, unfamiliar with the darkness, I could only feel one thing within it — the simple thing we’ve all known since we first lay awake as children. Fear in darkness triggers a vast unfelt pain. Thoughts anticipate invisible anguish. The root of courage begins there, where there is no time or light, where water sings but does not fall or flow. We listen through the sacred blackness. We prepare. On the edge of each person’s fear lies whatever hope has in store. We listen and help one another, readying for the days ahead when we must live beyond ourselves in the darkness.

Cheerier examples of Matthew Jakubowski’s fiction are also available online at 3:AM Magazine, gorse, Necessary Fiction, decomP, The Brooklyn Rail, Berfrois, and Minor Literature[s]. Matt co-hosts the Cannery Reading Series in West Philly, where he lives and raises children and ferns. He can be found online at mattjakubowski.com and @matt_jakubowski.