The light house at Point Reyes

is lacking one prism

because no one can find out

how to make what has been lost.

All of us lose something,

forget how we drew flame

from one another’s hearts.

And forgetting, we stand alone

on high perches, our signals incomplete:

warning / beckoning above the craggy shore.

Searching out grasses just below the snow line,

Dall’s sheep dance on outcroppings of rock

where predators can’t follow.

What have they lost?

To survive by simply standing

where one is safe is a lesson

I can’t unlearn; nor how to balance

on a step so high, almost in flight,

no turning back.

I can’t get back to what we knew:

my longing stretches between two poles

(warning / beckoning)

like those near the hunter’s cabin

where animal skins, scraped clean,

stretched tight,

dry in the sun of memory

to a thin film, a lens

for a flickering beacon

lacking one prism.

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