Dark Light

John Reinhart

There is no key, just an infinite number of doors turned inside out, each one creating a black hole full of white noise and closing into empty dreams where doves die forgotten on rotten limbs and their songs are unsung by warty toads spitting insects from their lips. That night, Joe found out who his friends really were. Hungry, homeless, responsible for a world not of his creation, he stumbled from door to door, hope to hope, growing colder at each step, growing smaller, retreating as humanity retreated from him. The dog approached her, panting. Protruding from his mouth was a long, red key. His ears instantly and simultaneously grew into windows and his tail a door.
After two years Mildred was passing all her classes, but found herself still groping aimlessly. The turning point came when, after studying for finals, she put her head down, fell asleep, and began to dream. Eternity held him in her wings, gently, and whispered silent promises of tomorrow. I read about his final leap and knew the window was important. They say he was running from something – just not far enough, and too little lift. Others see a message in the episode: steps built of angels’ wings and hairy legs.
Settled on the couch, he devoured umbrageous thoughts, feeding on the forgotten mists of insincere platitudes. The invisible silence between monk and monkey is where truth resides, in a musty, sixth-floor apartment, next door to the man who tried to hang glide out the window. He curled into the corner near an abandoned factory, sheltered from wind and rain, and tried to stay awake.
The doors closed, the lights went out, and Joe was left with a memory for comfort, one solitary memory from childhood. Like billboards, the answers flashed past in vivid Technicolor. She closed her eyes, and fumbled for cigarettes. As the cold reached down each limb, chewing at his muscles, Joe closed his eyes. He blinked. Once, twice. The factory was on fire. Without a pause or warning, the building exploded, from foundation to satellite receiver on the roof.
Mildred went to night school. She took classes in astronomy, nocturnal biology, and darkness. Studied owls, and shadows. During the day she shut herself in her closet, wore dark sunglasses, hoping to illumine hidden mysteries. The door opened and a voice shouted from the left windows, “Don’t let all the heat out.” With nothing to gain, she took the key and opened the door, feeling a warm breeze through her hair. Joe was bathed in light and warmth as he woke.


Native of northwest Denver before boutiques replaced roughage, John Reinhart is a former state fiddle champion, state rhythm guitar champion, one time northeast regional yo-yo champion, and defender of the discarded. His poetry has recently been published in 94 Creations, Apeiron Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dirty Chai Magazine, FishFood & LavaJuice, Liquid Imagination, Poetry Nook Magazine, Songs of Eretz, Star*Line, and The Vocabula Review.