In the year my father died
Yoko Ono built a beam of light
on a grass-covered island
across a narrow field of ocean
from Reykjavik. You should see it—
click this link: see the shape
that started as thoughts of a line
in Yoko's mind. When Yoko told
John her idea for the light,
he wanted it to shine up from his yard.
So now in air no one can own, the way
no one really owns a tune, a light burns
that bullets cannot stop. I'd like to fly
to Iceland, take a boat to the beam.
I'd like to see every flake of snow
set aglow as it fell. Against the aggregate
of light, I'd take the hailing bright
as mute replies from my beloved dead.
Imagine trying to sing to someone
through a wall of mud, a mile
of sea. John's voice sings across
the century—can still be heard
in earth's remotest cities. The plunk
of the piano that his fingers traveled over
imprinted onto grooves of vinyl
over which the needles spiral, so sound
spins up into the air. Let the beam
spiral off a low cyclonic system
funneling the sky over Iceland,
two opposing forces like the thread-
down of sound into sense, like the balance
of scales of a Libra singing, his voice
in key, bending melody. The beam of light
is white in the mind, blue in fact.
The base of the light is white glass.
Heat from the core melts the black
sand of Iceland to something smooth,
translucent: earth that lets light
shine through. In my mind,
I see the beam warbling up to the sky.
At times the beam is wide, at times
it thins, at times it seems to stutter
over light-erasing mist, as if light
were a held luck we shine up to the dark,
in the winter, under whistling stars.
The Glacier's Wake
Copyright © 2013 by Katy Didden
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission