Excerpts > Winter 2003

Alicia Ostriker
Normal Light

Normal light never killed anything.
When I beam my affection at you
Do not duck. It is not bullets.
Do not try to impersonate Superman.
It is not a laser.

What normal light wishes and dreams about
During its flight is how it will encounter
An object: every photon imagines this
The way we imagine gateways, that slowly open
As we fly toward them, into gardens,

The poppies and peonies making their mouths wide.
What actually happens to the light:
Striking a surface, some particles rebound
Like marbles, some are absorbed
And become heat, that's it.

That's usually it. But some
Flash on and inward to the curious cave
That is light's garden, light's antithesis,
And form an image.

Sometimes an object struck
Where it has eyes, will see.
Light dreams of this.

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