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. Alba, 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.