There was a light upon the rock
where the tower stands empty now
and faeries nest in the hollow lens,
farrowing like sows.
There was a light and ’twas well kept
by the man who marked the lee,
bright as the moon on a cloudless night
slung low above the sea.
Many the man it kept from the cliffs
and sent home safe to the docks
while the young of the merfolk, will-o’-the-whisped,
were dashed against the rocks.
All through the night, where the great house stood,
the grieving mothers wept
for the little ones who chased the moon
straight into the sun of death.
But the brokenness of a woman’s heart
is a sweet song to a man—
a red stain in the water spreading
up to where he stands.
Some say he fell from the balcony,
but in truth he took the stairs
to where wringing hands in a moonless night
caught him unaware.
They found him there when the oil ran out,
and another man was sent,
but thus it was with every one,
and so it always went.
And now in darkness lies the rock;
still sits the reflector dish.
And on moonless nights, the moon escapes
on the backs of the silver fish.
Reyzl Grace is a transfemme Ashkenazi poet, essayist, and librarian working in both English and Yiddish. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in Rust & Moth, So to Speak, Maenad, Limp Wrist, and elsewhere. She can be found in the mastheads of Cordella Magazine and Psaltery & Lyre, as well as at reyzlgrace.com and on Twitter @reyzlgrace.
photo by Todd Trapani (via unsplash)