What Light Obscures

by Philip Quinlan

Total Internal Reflection

There are two kinds of light:
the glow that illuminates,
and the glare that obscures.
           James Thurber

Flat noon’s a latitude becalmed.

Beyond, perhaps an undiscovered sea
where plane rays sail and turtles turn;
encircling, the serpents of Sargasso go.

I carried cargoes home,
once, in my laden days;
knew the dualities of wakes and waves,
and played the game of vague.

Light is as shining does;
each finds his angle of repose.

Ashore, some shells are still alive,
and these, the razors, once were eyes.
So, by a sickness, is the oyster charmed.

Here is the map I made,
but birds will cross the borders,
knowing no such notion.

Fish fly in filtered light,
see only nameless ocean;
all my wrecks are reefs.

Look to the luminous, a league below;
the stars above are not the only ones.
I have made nothing of those suns.

Now, diving deep, have done:
sonar, in laminæ, will say, alone.

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Visit Philip Quinlan’s website at http://theverbfori.yolasite.com.