False Light

(i)

In here they keep the lights on;

their rooms are spotless, goal-studded,
bereft of shadow.

Here they sedulously dissect night-flesh,
hell-bent on wrestling the serpent’s tail
into its mouth.

Years ago some deft hand
plucked my childhood from its mystery,
the maw of institutions thoroughly
masticating the bones of my innocence,
digesting spontaneity in its serum of theory.

(ii)

In here they have sealed my calling
in a wooden coat, ferrying it quietly
down the Styx.

So i’ve been searching,
i’m on the trail, stalling in eddies,
climbing where the ladders
have been kicked away,
slipping through celestial thoroughfares
where their watchdogs are
blinded by crepuscular fire;

i have heard the surreptitious drops
of seasons, skies, stars
that fall
into guarded cisterns,

and the vulnerable clove of creation
crushed beneath history’s heel
has wrapped my soul with a bracing
redolence.

(iii)

The others have forgotten;
it has taken me three decades
to remember—

in here they keep the lights on,
but i have condemned their light,

and finally i can see.

(c) Seth Grube