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A Light Store in the Bowery

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“Some love is like a light store / you slip inside only to escape”

The Radiant Tarot The Sun Credit Alexandra Eldridge Copy
The Radiant Tarot: The Sun, Alexandra Eldridge

Some love is like a light store
you slip inside only to escape
the rain. Something to see, it turns out:
the plasma lamps, mosque and lava,
the elegant icicles of the chandeliers,
shapes and shades so insistently singular
that rooms can’t help but happen around them,
lives can’t help but acquire choices and chances
inside. Some love is like an old owner
who when a child walks in with her parents
can only imagine shatterings.
And some love is like that child
asking with an earnest and exemplary awe,
“Where do they keep the dark?”

The events in this poem actually happened, though my ten-year-old daughter, who was five at the time, now claims she was joking. She wasn’t, or if she was, it was only in that “earnest and exemplary way” whereby levity and gravity fuse. Some love is so full it banishes the dark, or so full it enables the dark—for there is always some dark—to be safely “kept.” It’s the same thing. —Christian Wiman

Excerpted with permission from Survival Is a Style by Christian Wiman. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ©2020 by Christian Wiman. All rights reserved.