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by Aisha Down

Poetry: Ten Metaphors for Light

TEN METAPHORS FOR LIGHT

by AISHA DOWN

i.

God in you

talking love

to the God

in another place

in you

ii.

The God that beats in sky and sun

is it in all things

speaking in hot rays through your skin

to you.

iii.

Skin that shines on all things: apples, men at work,

great boats on howling seas—

unknowable beneath their light-skins

as the bodies of strangers,

the shadows inside of faces.

iv.

Honey

hot beneath the tongues of sky.

v.

Water in the morning

to rinse sky and hands and you:

great waves from the clean sun.

vi.

Feathers riding skyward on backs of birds.

A white owl at flickering distance

watching the years of night.

vii.

Faith

burnt as the dust

that surged

all those eternal miles

about the ankles.

vii.

A soul, because it cannot be photographed

or measured,

or caught alone.

ix.

A throat

for it lies above the heart. 

x.

Blood, for it moves

relentlessly—

with no sound through

these cells of days.

Lilith poetry editor, Alicia Ostriker — just appointed New York State Poet: “Ten Metaphors For Light” fascinates and ravishes and teases, all at the same time. How can so many things all be metaphors for light, which is itself a metaphor for so many things? Imagination rules this poem. But a thread of sensual joy unites these images, along with a sense of play, and of the abundance of the universe which began, we are told, with “Let there be light.”

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