Ricky Ray, My Favorite Time of Day Is When the Light Begins to Dim

My Favorite Time of Day Is When the Light Begins to Dim

I have two suns, one on either side
of my nose. They light the way.
They deceive me. They apply the thin
film of desire to the world as it exists
and show me the world as I wish to see it.
I have tried to break them of the habit,
but it’s like cleaning windows:
by the time you’re done they’re already
filling up with impurities, distractions,
the warp of one’s will distorting the view.
I mean I lie to myself
to take the sting out of hours.
I put the stingers in a pile.
When it’s about the size of an impossible
cherry, I eat all the honesty
at once. So bitter you can imagine why
the universe wanted one
of its constituents to be honey.

I hold a gallon of it up to the light
and could spend hours lost in the labyrinth
of its imperfections, which don’t exist.
My ophthalmologist, in his southern
drawl, calls me honey, orders
unnecessary tests to make money,
his honesty about as discernable
as the morning’s hint of evening’s
heat. He says the suns on either side
of my nose may be dimming before
their time. My trusty lanterns, the bastard.
But he might know of what he speaks.
The way his mind drifts, his speech slows,
and the words fall apart in his mouth,
I think he has dimmed before his time.
Which is a terrible thing to say,
terrible the way truth is a weapon:
one we must use or die.

Ricky Ray is a disabled poet, critic, essayist, and the founding editor of Rascal: A Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art. He is the author of Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019), Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020), and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020). His awards include the Cormac McCarthy Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, and a Liam Rector fellowship.

Ricky’s work appears widely in periodicals and anthologies, including The American Scholar, Verse Daily, Diode Poetry Journal and The Moth. He was educated at Columbia University and the Bennington Writing Seminars, and lives on the outskirts of the Hudson Valley, where he can be found hobbling in the old green hills with his old brown dog, Addie.

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