Country Dark by Jennifer Moran

He leapedJennifer Moran

From his old Ford Bronco

And found his footing

On the rock-strewn soil.


It was dark.

Not city dark, but country dark.

Dark that was only cut by the subtle illumination

of stars in the sunless sky.


At the top

Of the tallest hill on his land,

He surveyed

The surrounding Tallgrass Prairie.


I watched him set up the tripod.



This one’s Venus,”

he said.


I slowly weaved

Through the scratchy clumps

Of sun-dried grasses,

Careful of where I placed

My flip-flopped feet.


He waited for me,

Patient and peaceful.

His eyes told me

I was the first

He’d brought here.


“See it?

It’s the big one.

Right there.”


One hand

Supported the telescope.

The other,

Index finger unfolded,

Pointed to a place

Forty degrees above parallel.


I stood at the scope.

The cool Kansas night wrapped

Around my bare legs

Then rustled his jeans

As he stood next to me.


Moving closer,

The scent of his skin

Surprised me.


It was warm.

It was good.



At the blackest hour,

I looked and I found it:


Light in the dark.


Beauty in an empty place.

Jen Moran, a recent graduate of Emporia State University’s Master’s of English program, lives in Emporia, Kansas with her husband, Jesse, and their daughter, Cordelia. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, painting, knitting, and reading. Her graduate thesis project culminated in a children’s book that focused on respecting nature.


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