Professor of Literature and Creative Writing
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
My Brothers Make a Lantern
All light has left the yard.
Only the sky holds the blue
of light turning back into dark
and shaping in hard shadow every edge
of roof top, every leaf and tree limb,
shaping my two young brothers
as they sway in silhouette bodies
A green light opens in air.
They dart with a tin lid
and a mason jar, quick as fish
to trap the insects. Above them
the light of the moon is broken
in tangles of pine, and they appear
and disappear among the trees
far away to the dark of the woods.
Their voices have tapered away
into distance; the forest takes in
the night air. Far off, a woman
is calling her children home,
and the sound of a train labors
into the dark. I want to call out
to my brothers, but I see,
very faintly, their light.
This darkness lies thick on my skin.
I move slow under its cover, an outline
in the cool air; I go where the green
spark has shifted beyond the last
boundary of dark, holding my eyes wide open
to take in the field of pure black.
When the green light crosses back to me,
I enclose it inside of my hand.
Slowly, by a living mantle of light,
my brothers return from the woods.
The circle their lamp is throwing
shows a different side of the night
where objects are one in the darkness
and change in the green of our sight.
I add my fly to the lantern and we walk
in the pulse of that glowing.
I move in the light with my brothers
and feel myself fill my whole shadow.
Copyright Scott Ward