The Quotable

The Speed of Light

In Trondheim, the light spoke,
the light lined the streets like white
fox fur, the light soaked through the red
stained glass into the caverned cathedral,
as it had for a thousand years. Light fingered
the edges of evening as if hemming a nightgown,
never quite letting go, light cast itself against
my body to cast a long shadow against the gray
stone buildings, light pried open the roses,
light circled me like an impatient dog, whether
I ran or stood still.

In Uppsala, the light was silent,
the light dusted the stones gold
in Linneaus’ garden, settled itself
at his grassy table. Light chased
the red and blue bocce balls strewn
on the court, turning the grass translucent.
Over a hollow willow tree, the light
coaxed out green branches from the
apparently dead wood, and led their
delicate leaves down into the pond,
a veil of shadows, an artifact
of thought only visible
when I stood still, only palpable
when I walked through it.


Kris Bigalk is the author of Repeat the Flesh in Numbers (New York Quarterly Books, 2012); her work has also appeared in the anthologies Poetry City USA, Volume 2, and Open to Interpretation: Water’s Edge. She directs the creative writing program at Normandale College in Minnesota.

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The Quotable 9 Night and Day