By Becca Downs
This is the room where I sleep,
where I eat bread and butter,
where I cry to God and myself.
This is where I stare at the ceiling
and direct films to replace horror
with romance, comedy with comedy.
This is the window where I watch
squirrels chase other squirrels.
It’s new. Before there were no windows.
This is the lamp that started
as a flashlight that started
as a candle that started
as a match that took sleepless weeks to light.
Before then, this room was dark.
Before the window
and the match
I could only see
the thin dim golden
glow under the door.
I kept time with footsteps—
visitors, well-wishers, friends.
I think it was a friend who slipped
the match under the door.
I’d never lit a match before,
But once flame flickered
at my fingertips
I knew I could light a candle.
Once I lit a candle,
I knew I could illuminate
the floorboards before my feet.
From there, my pupils
constricted like pools of water
under summer sun.
This is how my life began again,
how my life always begins
again and again—
with a slim ray of gold light,
an eyelid upon waking.