Back to Issue One.

The Light Above Cities



Sitting in darkness,
I see how the light of the city
fills the clouds, rosewater light
poured into the sky
like the single body we are. It is the sum
of a million lives, a man drinking beer
beneath a light bulb, a dancer spinning
in a fluorescent room, a girl reading a book
beneath a lamp.

Yet there are others- astronomers,
thieves, lovers- whose work is only done
in darkness. Sometimes
I don’t want to show these poems
to anyone, sometimes
I want to remain hidden, deep in the coals
with the one who pulls the stars
through a telescope’s glass, the one who listens
for the click of the lock, the one
who kisses softly a woman’s eyes.

Jay Leeming is the author of two books of poems: Dynamite on a China Plate (Backwaters Press, 2006) and Miracle Atlas (Big Pencil Press, 2011). His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines including Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry East and Pleiades, and he has been a featured reader at Butler University, the Omega Institute, Robert Bly’s Great Mother Conference and the Woodstock Poetry Festival. He is the editor and founder of the magazine Rowboat: Poetry in Translation, and has taught poetry workshops throughout the United States and abroad. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and served as Poet Laureate of Tompkins County from 2009 to 2010. He makes his home in Ithaca, New York.