When i was younger I used to travel home on the train at night
and whenever i’d look out the window
at the lighted windows of houses and apartments
I’d feel like I was rising above the surface of the water for air.
I was drawn to the mystery of that soft light,
it was familiar to me,
i think I recognised it from my childhood.
I could smell what was lurking behind the drawn curtains,
a mother ironing a patch onto her son’s jeans,
two friends sharing a bottle of beer,
children jumping on couches,
an old widower talking to himself.
But these images were not what warmed my heart.
It was the light itself.
The way it softly lit up the perimeter of the window case
and did not flinch in the face of the terrible darkness.
It shone defiantly but without exertion
and continues to shine
like a city on a hill
and I have spent my life
sailing on a flimsy raft across troubled waters
to reach it.