I just couldn’t breathe in its shadow.
It weighed what the cross weighed, that shadow
Cross, more than any shadow should. No
Sun could shoulder that kind of shadow,
No man kneel there without a shudder.
The dark beams crushed me flat as shadow,
My flesh, grass, matted by the shade. No
Way a mere cedar cross could shed so
Much dark matter, so weighty a shadow.
I just couldn’t breathe in that shadow
Until I made myself a shadow-
Swallowing sea and swallowed shadow
The way a sea will swallow daylight.
The shadow splashed down, and the sun’s light
Spilled over—only I was the light’s
Sole source, both the prism and the light
Beam split into the eye’s wide palette.
The splash displaced a volume of light
Equal to one sun, this light the light
That made of the shadow cross a light
Cross to bear, the light that raised my light-
Weight body until then strange to flight
But now, death made light of by his dying,
Light-footed, fallen, risen, flying.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.