Two Poems by Christian Wiman

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After a Lecture with My Love  

Light, when it goes, goes everywhere at once.
The photon that hurtles toward the earth at 186,282 miles a second
flashes just as fast away.

But let a leaf, say, intrude, or a moon, or a man,
and what was everywhere and always is always only one,
and done.

To speak a thing one can’t conceive.
To live in the instant before the instant is.
To feel infinities going dark for this one light along your thigh.



Little Flames

We blinked out.

One by one,
grief by grief,

we who had kept you

blinked out.
You grew

into the spaces
between us

until you were as everywhere
as a gas leak.

One real prayer
would set the sky on fire.




Christian WimanChristian Wiman’s most recent book is Joy: 100 Poems (editor). He teaches at Yale University.

Read Christian Wiman’s poem “Club,” appearing in’s Letter to America series.

Header photo of candle by James_Jester, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Christian Wiman courtesy the Poetry Foundation. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.