Stand In Old Light

by Matthew Porubsky

&&&&&&&&&I’m a pebble in the desert.
Toss some rocks
&&&&&&&&&&and sand;
enough to make a mountain.

&&&&&&&&&&My hands have glowed on several occasions.
&&&&&&It’s in no way a divine glow,
&&&&&&&&&but enough to light the stairs to the cellar,
&&&&&&enough to read by.

I can live buried,
learn to breathe like a worm.

At least I’ll help the grass grow;
aerate plants to a strong glow.

I’ll be loose enough
&&&&&&&&&to slide through.

&&&&My hands will help light the evergreens
&&&&&&&&on moonless nights –
&&&&&&&&bioluminescent twinge
&&&&&&&&to call the moths.

Use the branches and leaves
&&&&&to laurel who you’d like.

We both stare.

Five white petals stretch like a pentagram,
&&&&&&&&&&yellow center circle,
crowning from six golden cups.

You fix them,
&&&&&&&&&line them exact.

Your creation is perfection
&&&&&as much as creation.

Step back.

&&&&&&You ask how I can just stand there.


I step forward:
&&&&&bend at knees,
&&&&&bend at neck,
&&&&&bend to smell.

We are each staring at something else –

my eyes closed
&&&&&&as vision-scents flutter,

tickle flashes in drifts.

&&the stars are taking shape.
&&Do you see?
&&Do you see the tree
&&&&&&&&&&&And there?

There is no fog of light here,

&&&&&&&&&&&so far out.
Can you smell the grapevines on the wind?


look! There, the constellation Mercy.

It connects to Beauty to the north,
&&&&&&&&&Foundation to the south.

&&&&&&your finger across eastward.
Do you see how Severity and Understanding
&&&&&&line up, like a pillar?

The real secret –
you can fashion all this as you choose,

design your onces as they appear to you.

&&&&&&&Do this and you will never smell rust.
&&&The breeze that wakes you will be gentle.
Your domain will be lush
&&&&&&&&&with creation.

You sit with the look
&&&&&&&&&&of a lonesome god.
The juggle of&&&&&&&&&infinity
&&&&&&is disorienting, at first –

like a ship in high waves,
like gripping stars.

your&&&hair is&&&&&trimmed
and so much&&&&&&&&darker than mine.

Do you hear the wind over the lake?

&&&&&&&you’ll handle all this.

Waves will still wave,
stars will still call,

&&&&&&&but you’ll toss them hand to hand,
breath steady, slow,

as you stand on one foot.

A cloak of water fits me
perfectly –
bend of my crown
roll of my shoulders,
house of my body.

 &&&&This is how we hug;
if that’s what it could be called.

Closing eyes
helps visioning

what isn’t there.

Your arms go straight through.
&&&&&&&&&Or do mine go straight through?

We wait&&&&&&& for it &&&&&&&&to end.

&&&&&&a gold chalice,
can be held with one hand,
admired with the other.

You could
&&&&&&&whisper something shiny.
Instead you put your ear
&&&&to a shell,
&&&&&&&&&chant ocean salt.

&&&&&&My chair,
moves closer to the waterline,
sinks on&&&&&&& the left side.

My cloak
joins the glimmer –
takes me along.

Matthew Porubsky

Matthew Porubsky lives in Lawrence, KS and works for Union Pacific Railroad. He has published several collections of poetry, most recently, Ruled by Pluto (Aldrich Press, 2013) and John (Red Bird Press, 2013).

Artist: Silas Plum





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