Jake Adam York

Narcissus Incomparabilis

Lean down, lean down
while the light’s abducted,
its last skirts caught
then torn through the trees.
Keep your own eye still
so no one catches you.
When it’s gone, it’s everywhere,
air’s a memory of light,
incident turned ambient,
and it never takes long
for this nacre to grow
over each absence or intruder
and become the world.
Lean down now,
creel of starlight and moon,
and reflect again
your inherited light.
World may ripple—
pearl, scale, pebble, bone—
behind all memory,
may ghost you, stranger,
where you don’t belong.
Lean down now,
as memory hardens
its incomparable light.
Don’t let the sun
set on you again.

Jake Adam York
Narcissus Incomparabilis” is from Persons Unknown (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).