AFTERIMAGES

Judith Skillman

Of the sun, one winter afternoon — 
the sun close to setting, one afternoon 

after staring into a star too soon
and long before it disappeared: noon 

the time when drought takes one
by surprise. And lessons, afternoons 

with father, his solar physics — don’t
stare or you’ll go blind, eclipsed sun, 

half sun, quarter sun, sun through pin-
hole camera, after all he was the sun 

and the moon together — a web spun
of such sheerness, his disappearance. 

Afterimages spring green and red, suns
float against closed eyes and afternoons. 

From him — the Pater — must come afternoon.
What is it to be awake, else to mourn the One?

 

JUDITH SKILLMAN’s how to is Broken Lines — The Art & Craft of Poetry, from Lummox Press. Poems have appeared in PoetryTar River Poetry, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Pontoon, and other journals and anthologies. Skillman is the recipient of an Eric Mathieu King Fund Award from the Academy of American Poets for Storm, Blue Begonia Press. She has taught at City University, Richard Hugo House, and elsewhere. Angles of Separation, her new book, is available from Glass Lyre Press. Visit her on the web.