Contents | March 2004

More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.


The Atlantic Monthly | March 2004
 
Light Years

by Joan Swift
 
.....
 
Is light the last thing lost or never lost at all?
There is light so far away, it's gone

by the time we see it,
the tail lights on the highway far ahead

that say someone is traveling
this same dark way.

Those blue clumps lost ten billion light-
years ago at the edge of the universe

redshift from ultraviolet to the visible
and are found by the Hubble telescope,

sleek horse pulling through dark
the reeling carriages of space

even as they change into roses
or thunderheads or phantom animals

we never imagined.
What fiery dust was our beginning,

left us a tender earth? Far out in the universe
a tomorrow we can't see is singing the last word

of a song we heard long ago under stars
like blossoms on black water.


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Joan Swift's most recent book of poems is The Tiger Iris (1999).
Copyright © 2004 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; March 2004; Light Years; Volume 293, No. 2; 88.