How Do We Love the Past and the Present?

The brightest go first. Light
can illuminate, or it can bleach
all the color from a book’s spine,
so we keep the rarest things
safe in cooled darkness.
Two gardens rival each other
from either side of the glass
and both need attention, although
neither demands it: one could ignore
the bamboo as easily as the books,
and both might do just fine or wither.
In my wallet, I keep a plan
for an orderly apocalypse,
reminding me who to call
if the waters rise or fire falls
from a wire in the ceiling. Who
can I call to tell that the air
is burning out there, the hottest
October on record in a year hot
with hatred? I affirm that this
is a radical act of love: to look
you in the eye and say good morning,
to bring you what you ask for
out of the cooled darkness
where it rests. This is what light
can do: a whole lot of damage,
but how could we see to read
all these words without it?

Last updated November 14, 2022