This is what the light says when it wants you

You think you know the warmth of light when it goes all the way into your dilated pupils, when the beam heats your smallest blood vessels so slowly they turn orange like stove coils and burst into black snowflake spots that float between here and there, between you and the mountains, you and the shacks. You think you know that kind of heat. You think it’s a thing anybody can see, just by looking, just by asking.

You think you know. I’ll tell you a lot of things eventually but right now I’ll tell you this: you have no idea.


You don’t know the first thing about my light. You can’t know unless you’ve been touched by it, pried open by it, made ash and then whole again by it. You would only know if I’d chosen you, and I haven’t. Not yet. I might. I might never. Someone is always next. There’s always a chosen one, and the light is what makes it happen. It’s a seeking light. It gets thirsty for things to bend around, to wash clean with its wide mouth, with its slow see-through tongue that fills and fills and fills your face. It fills your mouth and your pupils, your house, your town. Up over the mountains and gently, completely in between each one, all the way across the flat bowl of the valley.

Imagine a light exactly that big. It never stops.

Imagine a light exactly that fast. When it finds the thing to bend around, the new thing, the right one, it wraps and squeezes in a way that’s finally satisfying – finally – and then it’s not. It’s gone. The light still bends around the new thing, but light is empty.


Imagine the power of that. Imagine how it is to be made of such a thing. Imagine how it is for me to fill up a room, and at the same time to empty it, to seep in as wide and slight as an echo.

That’s what you get when I come into your eyes. If you see black flakes, you’re lucky, because they’re the last bits of beauty you’ll feel. Everything else will burn off in the heat of me, the light, the truth, the lack.

You’re so lucky if you’re my chosen one. If I choose you, you’ll never see or know or eat again. Just let me in and I’ll show you. I’ll warm you. You’ll enjoy it, or you won’t. Open up like she did. Show me you’re ready. Show me in the way you shuffle to the post office, squatting to hide your accidentally amputated toes. That’s what Helen did. When I saw that, I knew she was mine.

The Owl House, Nieu Bethesda, South Africa, 2010.

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