The Tyndall Effect

The phenomenon in which light is scattered by particles of matter in its path.

Somewhere between here
& now is where & when
it might happen,
the event I hope for, & invest in,
its effect & feeling
of lightness
& particularity, a sense, a way
not forward or backward
but perhaps in.
This morning, for instance,
I watched through my second-story
window fog diffuse
the sunlight over the Piedmont,
as it does my high beams
driving home through the dark, particles
in a very fine suspension,
I think this might be how.
To sit still & move
at 60mph through lit mist
is a beginning, begins to render
what I’m after & into,
Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, for violin, strings,
& percussion, filling my chambers,
my cab, in stereo,
I crane & the seat belt sashes me
tighter. Not to move
at high speed, but be moved
through, to almost float.
And there I am again, more than
memory, all the way up
in the final row
of the packed Kennedy Center,
sound pressing me
against the back wall, the nosebleeds,
eyes half-closed, that tear
I didn’t quite shed
catches the soft light of sconces, holds it,
trembling, for two hours,
there the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
conjures a cool sonic cathedral,
builds a sanctuary
city, empties
our corporate body of its volume
& care, there
we simulate zero-gravity.
I crest the hill, trusting in nothing
to appear. But he did
appear, whispers across the audience:
He’s actually here—Arvo.
And now as he bows imagine
the music returns to his ears
like bees to their tunnels
hidden underground,
a few notes caught
in his long gray beard.
And if I wanted to hear
through the window leaves fall
or quiver or spin, this bright
littering, & so presume
to hear what I see,
while dew burns off
the field’s scramble of high grass, kudzu,
yucca, raspberry, squat pines, poplars
& firs? Call it
a lyric of light & fog.
The Evergreen & Quicksilver Variations.
Call it sound-bearing silence.

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