Sandy Hook Light 

We step inside and ascend.
Each turn of the spiral
stair breaks off another
one of your words—

loom / ing
un / der / tow
i / so / me / tric
Ur / sa Mi / nor
speed / ing ti / cket

Syllables smash
against the whitewashed concrete
floor below and dissolve.
Plaques and tangles. Tangles and plaques.
1764, the year it was built, splits
open—decades spill onto the treads we’ve just climbed.
We reach the lanthorn. The sky has cleared for us
to see in all directions—

At / lan / tic O / cean
Ver / ra / za / no Nar / rows Bridge
Em / pire State Build / ing
nudes on a beach
Saint Ber / nard Pa / ro / chi / al School play / ground
seal haul out heav / en
gap be / tween the first
and the next

In the heat trapped inside, whole sentences fly off our tongues.
I can retrieve them later, if you wish. For now,
it’s just you and me, Dad,
on the beam

that can be seen 19 miles
at sea on a clear night.
For now, we are
the fixed white light.

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