Once, I told my daughter, the night sky
held a piece of light that wanted respite
from darkness. Beneath it flashed something
better, something more: an orb marbled
blue and white and green (though it didn’t
know the words for blue or white or green).
The color seemed to sing. Listening,
the light let go, falling with such ferocity
that falling itself became sweet, the icy
streak of gas and dust plunging at last
in the sea where it sank, was surprised
by sinking—how darkness had no limits,
or perhaps the limits it had always known
blackened in the crushing deep. Lodged
in whale fall, the light pulsed silver; vipers
circled, grew fainter. Only the milky-
eyed angler took pity and, using its lure
like a hook, ferried the light through
the abyssal zone then passed it to a shoal
of lanterns that lifted it to the surface
where a ray whipped it toward shore
by its tail-tip into a shallow pool. The tide
rushed out and in. The light clutched at
the rock. Anemone whispered. Barnacles
clicked. Orange cushions rippled across it.
The light, now calm, stayed put. Each day
(though it didn’t know the word for day),
it looked up at the clear blue dome.
Sometimes the dome turned gray
and wept. Sometimes, things zipped
across it. Sometimes, its purples streaked
yellow and pink. But always, when the dome
blackened, as it always has and must,
the light began to tremble: for
above it was the fact of what had been
reflected back to itself—not a marbled
orb, but a body that carries on and goes on
carrying such a wild, beautiful glimmering.