Sonnet with lighthouses

The first lighthouse is you.

The second lighthouse is you, age 12, turned around beneath a wave.

The third lighthouse is a hyperbaric chamber you clamber into when you dive too
deep and rise too fast, an oil-dark depth that’s child’s play for trained divers but
you, girl, you clawed yourself up —

The fourth lighthouse tunes into the shipping song over sea static: rain later, good,
occasionally poor.

The fifth lighthouse says over and over, I love you I love you I love you you you
you there.

Every wall in the sixth lighthouse is load-bearing.

The seventh lighthouse is a scattergram of light that indicates the strength and
direction between two variables: ship and safe harbour, moon and tide, shore and
vagaries of current, each of us to each other, our future selves to our past selves,
every dear friend placed at strategic vantage points in our life.

Just seeing the eighth lighthouse strengthens your circuitry, blood zinging around
your bones in delight.

The ninth lighthouse has worse things happen at sea cheerfully cross-stitched on a
pillow it bought drunk off Etsy.

The tenth lighthouse sometimes just wants to be a lifeboat or a ladder or an
oxygen mask, dropped down in case of emergencies and not always looking out for
other people when they can’t themselves.

The eleventh lighthouse’s favourite piece of furniture is the walnut drop-leaf table
that opens so everyone can fit around it.

The twelfth lighthouse makes you feel like stepping out of time.

The thirteenth lighthouse comforts you with Fermat’s mathematical proof which
shows that light knows where it’s going, that it takes the shortest possible route,
even through water and gale forces.

The fourteenth lighthouse hollers MARCO.
_________________________________POLO, everyone you love shouts back.

From Honorifics. Reproduced with kind permission of Nine Arches Press.

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