Jad Adkins Poems




That Light


     When I dove into the water, I saw the girl’s body, hardly visible at first, the water fogged on the bottom of the pool, where she was, on her knees, face down, folded over, her swaying arms outstretched, like one toward Mecca, like a body before God. And as I got closer, I could see her unconscious hands slightly curled, her fingertips tracing indiscriminate paths along the concrete. I could see the dark plume of her hair, weightless, like smoke slow to diffuse, moving in concert with the debris of black leaves and withered spiders, all rising and falling helplessly. 

    It wasn’t until years later that I remembered what she looked like laying on the pool floor, the way her body, coming to terms with the white panic in the brain, with the lungs filled with water, had sunk into so specific a pose. How it had gone so deliberately to the knees, so gracefully, how the falling hands must have arced in slow worship, how the forehead must have descended to kiss the concrete like some holy cloak. And that body, prostrate, was it not in prayer for all creation? It’s supple lilt like a hymn for all this dusty matter? For all its brokenness redeemed in moments—when shattered light dances around a body eight feet under water, when the light touches it in spite of the depth—and was I not a witness to that improbable grace, that moment, how it seems familiar in a way I can’t describe, like an old dream suddenly remembered?


    Let me try to say it another way. When I was little, I saw a half circle of light being cast by the sun through a window onto the couch. I remember how bright it was, how the resolute beam cut across the room and illuminated the air and exposed a hundred thousand dust particles floating aimlessly, as if I were seeing through to the world, as if some deeper yearning was met in view of that light. All I can say is that when I pressed my hand against that shape of light on the couch cushion, the heat of it jarred me and I didn’t know why.     


    Or when the girl came to and opened her eyes, the water having foamed from her lungs, she screamed, confused, not realizing she’d been away.





Jad Adkins lives in Georgia, where he misses West Virginia.





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