1. Afternoon in Manhattan, long shadows
leap into the streets, into traffic.
Glare shatters every window, every piece of glass
in the city. The ichor of America pulses
through every boulevard, every avenue.
2. Today, rain is a promise, but the clouds
break. Some people see their god
in the light that crashes through.
3. Creatures in darkness sometimes
fill themselves with a luminous desire.
Sometimes passion is this dangerous,
4. The life of a prisoner—inside out;
outside looking in.
5. It has been suggested that eyes evolved
before the brain. And without light,
there would be no need for eyes.
Five-hundred forty million years ago,
the sun pried open
eyelids of predator and pray.
6. I used to pray at night,
afraid that I would die in darkness.
7. Tunnels are symbols for grace.
In this world, they are a hidden ingenuity,
taking us through a barrier
so we can continue on our way.
8. Midnight bonfire, we have no choice
but to discover all the meanings of life,
drink the moonshine
even under a new moon.
9. Driving the interstate late
into evening, I remember I was going away,
each bubble of light on the roadside
another mile toward freedom,
another lightyear from home.
10. Home, the lamps go on, the overhead lights.
Television is a foolish friend.
You will never learn what it means
to be as lonely as light
constantly racing away from the source,
running away from the burning self.
David B. Prather received his MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, American Literary Review, Poet Lore, South Florida Poetry Journal, ucity review, Kestrel, Sheila-Na-Gig, and others. His work was also selected for one of Naomi Shihab Nye’s anthologies, “what have you lost?”
Photographer’s Note: I read the line “tunnels are a symbol of grace” and said yes and found the perfect photo for this poem.