PoetrySpring/Summer 2023

Andrew Payton — Sol

                  For my daughter 

On the cave tour
she grasped at my leg

when the guide gave us darkness:
seeking in displacement

to crawl toward 
a known point of origin.

And isn’t it so:
this lamps burns memory

of light. The body metabolizes
what summer's sun summoned

from ashes of another summer's sun 
which is the same

sun: even the sounds
on our tongues resist change.

Sol say her abuelos, sauil
said the Goths, seh-wol said

our shared ancestors
on the steppe.

The mountains tilted
into daybreak and pink

stratus spilled darkening waves
to the west.

Ra sails into the underworld
and back again

each morning.
Even he, summoner of all things,

had to be pulled
from that watery nothing.

first light of day,

was it my voice you heard?
What did your eyes see

before being opened
to radiating light?

Andrew Payton is a writer, learning designer, and climate advocate living in Harrisonburg, Virginia with his partner and children. His work is featured or forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Alaska Quarterly Review, Rattle, and elsewhere, and won the James Hearst Poetry Prize from North American Review. He is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and was formerly the Poetry Editor of Flyway. He teaches writing at Eastern Mennonite University.

The author: Debra Marquart