Parsing Light

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Sometimes I want to live transparently,
like the spray of the ocean,
suspended before it crashes,

or translucent like stained glass
that casts no shadow but transmits light
in a mosaic of colors.

But I would settle for being opaque
as rock,
like the moon,
who reflects light:

the moon,
who, even when overshadowed by earth’s silhouette,
perseveres
and offers her thin sliver of light,
her radiance more brilliant
than that of all the stars combined.

Taste Buds

Kapok Tree 1
Wind shook the blossoms of the kapok tree, and the petals floated down.

I knew children who sucked the petals of the kapok.

I wanted to share that sweetness,
but when I tried the kapok,
the petals did not register sweetness on my tongue.
To taste the sweetness
of the petal of a kapok
requires taste buds
that know want.

Wind shook the blossoms of the kapok tree, and the petals floated down.

Though my days once blossomed with nectar
I think I know enough about lack now
to taste
the sweetness
in a kapok.

 

The Morning After

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Everything slouches
the day after
the big snowfall.

Snow, once light
as down feathers,
compacts and crystallizes.

In the tree, snow
shimmies down branches
to nestle against a trunk
or curl in a nest.

No longer pristine,
snow awaits
its day of reckoning
with shovel and plow.

The winter storm watch
may be over
but deep down
in the gently aroused earth,
the roots, and the embryo,
know this

is only the beginning.

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation, 1898

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of AssisiThe Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

Start by doing what is necessary.
The open door, the broom on the hearth.
The windows open to the breeze.
The curtains flutter.
Outside, plant a seed and water it.
Sweep, cook, and water.

Then do what’s possible.
Gaze at the sunset.
Trace patterns in the dirt with a broom.
Behold the light.

Then, between the possible and the impossible,
like Mary, utter the cry: “How can this be?”
For light strikes the soul like a meteor burning in the atmosphere,
and suddenly the improbable takes on flesh.