you said, sometimes
it hurts to look at you,
you shine so brightly.
what does that mean,
you shine so brightly?
like the sun? no. not like the sun.
i see you clearly; your surface is still.
your desire is an open book.
it takes less than eight minutes to read it.
i see little else.
like swords? no. not like swords.
i always see the cut coming. or usually.
it is to be expected. what is surprising
is the speed with which they leap from their sheaths.
like reflections off a lake? no. not like a reflection.
perhaps this lake is a symbol for memory,
or it is everything you ever thought
you drowned, everything
hidden and still.
like a welder’s torch? no. not like a welder’s torch.
nevertheless – you should avert your eyes,
lest in seeing you are blinded.
in Britain, torch is another word for flashlight.
if only you carried a torch.
like a flare? no. not like a flare.
in the afterglow, i survey the landscape
as everything is cast in relief.
you are all shadow.
you should return to your cave.
like a laser? no. not like a laser.
let’s take a closer look –
it is a fine point, that
i shine so brightly. this moment
leaves me cold.
let me say that i do not believe you.
it does not hurt you to look at me –
it hurts to see your own reflection.
what you see is only your own fear.
what you fear is the possibility
that you will be wounded.
you see yourself best
through the eyes of others.