The Visible Spectrum | Archer’s Paradox


poems by Jenny Yang Crop


The Visible Spectrum


I am two halves of the moon, the waxing
and the waning, never whole, never new, reflection of twin suns,
one coming and one going, and where
the road bends, heads east to face the morning,
dark veil slipping further and further back,
the light cuts. No quid pro quo. No offer
in my upturned hand. You are what I am, woman who forgot
her own childhood, who stands in the yard
with her camera, documents rainbows dancing at the edge
of her sprinklers, dilating. We are the light
and the prism, the beautiful and the suspect. I am the child
who knows, and you are the knowing,
why she runs from light switch to bed but keeps her eyes
open, waits for the wall of dark to dissolve.
We are the moon that disappoints and street lights
blinking their hazy yellow, their long-short-long, some
dotting corners, others outlining whole cities,
and between the lines, headlights in motion, coming of white,
going of red, and at every start and every finish
a window glowing, a bedside lamp, a flashlight
beneath the blanket, blinking neon signs
and naked bulbs swinging from their wires, all
leaking our dim light into pools visible from space. We are
the child who calls them to her, who knows how far
we came and sees the long, dark distance left to travel.



Archer’s Paradox


It’s not enough to aim
and release, to follow procedure,

placement of arrow, placement of fingers, pulling
back on a tight tight string. Is it called a string?

I never know what I’m aiming at
until it’s bleeding its last breath.

Today, a southern gust shoves me
onto the shoulder so I’m forced to drive

for miles, wheels turned left
to correct, curving to follow a straight line.

Stiffer spines
fly better from a stronger bow.

These arrows are flimsy
things, my string a string of daydreams. I need

you and me on a couch on a porch, blowing
smoke at the winds. They push us

that way and this, two girls
never taught how to hunt, fascinated

by failed marriages, the means and ways
our bodies have been bowed.

But you say it’s okay to miss,
to make a mess sometimes.

You say when we’re ready for dead
center, we know how to aim to the side.