Contrails at sunset

Two Poems by Emily Light

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Some things will linger

[Your happiness] is too easy… Nothing costs enough here.
   – John the Savage, Brave New World

When he ran his scooter into the stone wall hedging the sidewalk,
my son was gazing at chemtrail clouds lit to beauty by sunset.
Not everything is an archetype, my students often admonish.
Of course that’s true—not everything fits
into clear-cut categories. Not everything is meant for
unambiguous names or histories to bequeath them trajectories.
That’s too easy for the smoke unfolding
from the Amazon Prime truck’s undercarriage,
for the yellowed pines lining the highway,
for the rainbow puddles on the road’s soiled shoulders
where my son now stands, bleeding.



Central Jersey Sonnet

Up here, everyone talks of you like the middle school boy’s
Canadian girlfriend we all know doesn’t exist.
You have spent so long living in my memory
Part of who I grew to become includes you.
Your quiet was the moment between ticks of a car
Resting after a winter drive. Quiet like snowballs stacked
On a cul-de-sac curb. You were flat as a tablecloth
After someone’s mother smoothed it with her hand.
I left you of necessity, and now I’m drinking nostalgia’s toxicity,
Thinking of you as the awkward teenage dog years, without definite shape
Between farm and city. You were marching band music in August,
Sunday’s megaphoned church organ, dead cicadas
And polluted bullfrogs. You are the bandana over my eyes,
Everything I worked for paved before I could cash you out.




Emily LightEmily Light’s poetry can be found in such journals as Inch, Lake Effect, Midway Journal, Cumberland River Review, and RHINO, among others. She teaches English and lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

Header photo by S Zuurman, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.