This Little Light of Mine

14When I was five I ran smack into a gravestone,
cracked my forehead to the bone
on the granite edge,
let out a wail that
split the sky.

I shattered the December clouds
that exhausted morning,
First Day,
in the grey graveyard
behind our Quaker meetinghouse.

Worshippers poured out,
knelt frantically in front of me
to wipe up the blood,

wrapped my father’s shirt ‘round my head:
a white turban laced with red.

In First Day School that morning we’d learned that
God created us in His image,

and then we’d learned that God was a light,
this little light of mine,

and I wondered in the screaming ambulance
how we were so fleshy,
so breakable,

whether we really were once made of light
and had bruised ourselves into bodies.
Kathryn Ailes
Swarthmore, Pa.

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