Even the Light Resists Going Down

Even the Light Resists Going Down
Jen Lighty

Laid out on a dock, belly exposed,
a man kneels next to me,
strikes a brass bowl
with a wood mallet.

When he circles the rim
with a motion that appears to begin
in his shoulder
                            an egret
plucks a shining fish out of the water
and swallows it whole.

In the palapa behind us
a baby screams,
shakes her fists,
kicks the sun.

It seems like the laguna is
waiting for something to happen,
but it’s already over.

The family in Aleppo is gone.
The black snake has crossed the river.
The atmosphere is a broken border
anything can get through.

The fish can be seen struggling
inside the egret’s white throat.

Although this appears to begin
and end with bodies,
a spiraling hand connected
                  to a shoulder,
the sound
                   is passing through.

The baby keeps crying.
She will not be comforted.

Where it began
or how,
where it is going-
I wish I knew.

Beneath the dock
minnows dispersed by rings of sound

that echo in the egret’s belly
gather again in my shade.

You can see right through them
to the water’s other side.

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