Every Light a Threshold

By Melissa Ridley Elmes in Issue Four, May 2022

Through the blinds of my ground-level apartment
I see the flash of red taillights; someone’s car
backing into a parking space, sending forth a
sudden claret flare like aliens landing in the night.

Through the blinds, the blinding mid-morning sun
burns my eyes as I startle to waking, some dream
leaving me sweating and restless, wanting more
of whatever it was that I cannot now remember.

Through the blinds, in the yellow hour, late afternoon
light falling like honey in a layered cascade
painting dark and light stripes on my lover’s pale back
like those on the bees, gilded fuzz to the touch.

Through the blinds, the white light of the full moon
reaches in to curl around my face, cupping it tender
as a mother’s hand, singing her eternal siren’s song:
Come dance with me naked in the midnight hour.

Through the blinds, brilliant headlights cut into
the darkness and I’m startled, become a white
hind hunted through the forest by the fae, frantic
to escape I flee, incandescent Wild Hunt prey.

Through the blinds, the earliest light of day spills
across the blanket in patterns like alien morse code;
lying languid and half-awake between the worlds
of evening and morning I try to translate the message.

Through the blinds, the grey light of a foggy morn
beckons to me to come out and get lost in the mist,
stumble over the corpse of a traveler, pick up
his abandoned pack and take up the adventure.

Through the blinds, day and night dance an eternal waltz,
bright to dim and sun to moon, weather and technology
shaping their colors and endowing them with variety–
every light a threshold, a pathway to somewhere else.

© 2022 Melissa Ridley Elmes

Melissa Ridley Elmes

Melissa Ridley Elmes is a Virginia native currently living in Missouri in an apartment that delightfully approximates a hobbit hole. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope, Illumen, Spectral Realms, Reunion: The Dallas Review, In Parentheses, Gyroscope, and various other print and web venues, and her first collection of poems, Arthurian Things, was published by Dark Myth Publications in 2020.

Poetry by Melissa Ridley Elmes
  • Every Light a Threshold