The Lighthouse Keepers

The Lighthouse Keepers
by Alicia Jo Rabins

At the island’s tip, old women in matching sweatshirts
keep visitors from touching what shouldn’t be touched
or staying past dusk. They watch us climb the spiral stairs.
I want to lay my palm on the great beveled glass
that once magnified a candle into a slab of light,
and they’re right to stop me, and I want to touch the faces
of the sailors it once saved. But not you, my mate,
not here. Sometimes there is too much possibility
and I find it difficult to breathe. I, lighthouse in a
lighthouse, sweeping out over the various greens
of trees who love themselves simply by existing.
Who silently transform light into matter,
who need nothing more than to sit in the sun and
get rained on once in a while. I can be like them
but not for long, and when the woman behind us
says the tower is closing, we begin the climb down
without a word. I will touch you later. For we ourselves are halfway
between the young, who explode and explode
like fireworks that never end, and the old lighthouse keepers,
faces etched with patterns their own flaming hearts left
as they seared through time.




Alicia Jo Rabins is a writer, composer, performer, and Torah scholar. Her poetry book, DIVINITY SCHOOL, won the 2015 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. Alicia tours with her band, Girls in Trouble, and her one-woman chamber-rock opera, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, was named one of Portland’s best theatre performances of 2014 by the Willamette Week. Alicia lives in Portland with her husband and their two children.