You were shuttering light
With your triggered eye,
Locking the cool, humid light
Into phosphorescent memory.

“As the light gets better,” you said,
And commanded the play
Of peonies, white tulle,
And laughter on the cusp of a cliff.

The light got better. And the pines
Which bristled endlessly
Became something of green and grey
And yellow all together.

Yet as the disc began to sink
And blind, the hills arose
To meet that fall, collapsing
Your golden hour to a minute.

But your work was done: the scene
Composed and told and kept.


The sun slipped the last peak,
And twilight intervened.
I watched the trees close ranks
And the woods fill with shades.

But over the serrated hills,
The day’s last light in draughts
Was lingering. I wondered:
Would there be an afterglow?

Would the air have flesh enough
To bend the light or burn it—
To set it singing into
A crescendo of neon?

You carried at your side
Moments ineluctable:
The certainties of light
Rolled in plastic canisters.

Even so, ours was to wait,
To see with expectant poise.

Fr. Ryan Sliwa

Father Ryan Sliwa was ordained to the sacred priesthood in 2015 and is an oblate of Saint Benedict. He completed his undergraduate studies at Saint Anselm College, Manchester NH, and went on to seminary at Saint John's, Brighton MA. At present, he serves in a suburban parish in New England. A book of his sermons and meditations, New Nazareths In Us, is published by Cenacle Press.

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