Robert Fillman

The Blue Hour


Twenty years since I stood waiting
by the third-floor bedroom window
at dusk, thinking about the ghost
stories my grandfather recycled
those cold Pennsylvania days
just after we set back the clocks,
gained the extra blue hour of light,
that sacred time when the living
and the dead can see each other.

I remember the steam whirling
from chimneys like hundreds of souls
lured by stars, stretching their new wings
beneath the moon’s hollow shiver,
one chance to cross over from this
realm and sail into the flute song
of silver light—caught between worlds
for less than a second, then gone.

Twenty years since I swore I saw
Katie Estan’s older sister,
fourteen, dead of meningitis,
drift past my snow-shackled rooftop,
heard her song on the wind, a voice
no longer torn by fever but pink
and sequined like the gown she wore
to the eighth grade formal just one
month before. Twenty years since she
smoldered past a wobbling Venus,
dancing her way into the dark.




Robert Fillman is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the English Department at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His chapbook, November Weather Spell, will be published in 2019 by Main Street Rag. He has been a Mountaintop Creative Writing Fellow and a finalist for the Gerald Cable Book Award. His poems have appeared in The Hollins CriticPoet LorePoetry EastSalamanderTar River Poetry, among others. He lives with his wife and their two children in Macungie, Pennsylvania.