The birth of light is like this:
A horizontal slice in the face of the black tunnel of the hallway
that leads to the room where my ill father sleeps.
The light and the muted sound of his snore announce his life
to the hallway.
And on the the other end, my mother and my sister sit around the table,
dismembered by the kitchen’s shadows, bending their soft backs towards a candle
like two floating moths knowing no other truth but that of light.
They hover over its simple mass of melting wax
collapsing into a white cake at the center.
It is my birthday today, and I blow for the usual wish—
to know my body, beyond the darkness after my breath consumes the candlelight,
see my soft limbs between the lights and read there
what my father calls the feminine sensibilities
of my walking, the heritage of my mother’s too obliging kiss,
of my mouth that is too much a red invitation when blowing candles, he says.
Now, only the hallway and its glowing scar mirrored
on my face. I am the moth imagining a truth without his light,
imagining a breath that could erase it, too, and concede my dusty flesh:
naked like an exclamation, or the burning tips of candles.
I imagine my mother and sister doze in the kitchen still, no less real now.
I close the bathroom door to strike matches, watching myself
come in and out of being by virtue of my own hand, proving my body
by leaving all this wax, burnt wicks, flickering pleasures.