How to Bend the Light
William Turner, lashed to a clipper ship’s mast,
in the crow’s nest, enduring a snowstorm.
Tied, so if his fingers froze he wouldn’t fall
to choppy winter waters, or smash on the deck.
He had to know a squall first-hand. No other method
would let him bend the blurs of light the right way.
Deckhands bring him below nearly iced-over,
frostbit but smiling. Even in the sleet spray,
Turner sees a flicker of his deity: the sun, God.
No difference. We’re all under it, warming,
even when the anvil clouds obscure it.
He was up there bellowing, saving the view
to push out brushes, a human camera obscura,
not unlike a telescope, focusing and diffusing,
concentrating rays. The essence of the necessary
image live in his mind’s eye, Turner marks
the precise location of that vital glimmer,
evidence of holiness, even out to sea and in a storm.
TODD MERCER won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry in 2016, the National Writers Series Poetry Prize for 2016, and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer's recent poetry and fiction appear in: Bartleby Snopes, Blast Furnace, Cheap Pop, Eunoia Review, The Fib Review, Flash Frontier Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, In-flight Literary Magazine, The Lake, The Magnolia Review, Softblow Journal, Star 82 Review and Two Cities Review.
The Ekphrastic Review
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