how this light is like that light buried there inside my head,
layer by layer through iron bars and glass
and a pattern of split bamboo and a roll of yellow paper,
how this light is modified by the filters through which it is passing.
A tangible slab of sunlight seems solid enough to hang from and
is a territory that dust may enter to become illuminated.
it apportions these spaces and helps to make them manageable,
sheds light on the objects with which these spaces will be filled:
this is a chenille bedspread
this a pillow
these are the walls
this is a Rand McNally globe
these are the small cars called Hot Wheels
those are friendly stars that glow upon the ceiling
these are the clothes to be worn to school this morning
I wonder if that trinity of fruit trees will ever flourish,
if they will grow large enough to attract a Catholic vision--
a saint or two or three sitting quietly among strong blossoms.
I will always know that I will never get
the chance to see them, the trees, if they do.
There will always be other windows but
they will all be somewhere else.
A steady wash of river noise and lake
or of traffic or of air and thick pine,
a howl of electric wire out there and crooked moonlight,
are the constant markers for memories,
the things that will manage to make one place
pretty much like any other place.
The boundary between the water and the atmosphere
is diminished by steam and the way it rises
from her shoulders,
from her arms,
from the tops of her breasts.
These are animal nights and we sit inside the water
and wait for dog sounds and night birds and
white-tail deer over the fences like rolling surf.
The part of the sky that glows, we call "stars"
and we begin to name them.
These are wicked times, we both agree, yet
so difficult to remember wickedness or how to be wicked.
It is so much softer than that,
an Egyptian posture and a pair of wings spread low over the pool,
a line of holy figures from old orchards turning back upon itself
at the edge of the road and the horses murmur;
they grind their teeth and the big one, the appaloosa,
shifts his hips to move his right hind leg into an angle.
Our date was in the abandoned aquarium on the outskirts of town;
candles shed themselves upon us,
upon the scales of foreign fishes long dead,
upon the bones of performing penguins.
It was one of the best, that date,
and empty bleachers near the empty dolphin tanks made it more so.
We danced our newly learned dance-steps
in our new shoes and careful of the dust on the amphitheater floor;
we moved in looping ovals that drew closer and closer to themselves
and when we looked back to where we'd spun
we saw that we had surely been there.
Originally published in Blue Mesa Review #7 (click on title or image for more information)