“Illumination” by Linda Neal

Interior with Meg

Illumination

I’ve dreamed her dead

and seen her alive, rising

out of the blue ocean—

Goddess, Joan of Arc, Aphrodite

fishing she-bear, mother to all,

maternal marauder, foraging

through forests and lakes

the original Eve lighting the way—

each siting a projection

of the wild, naked skin

I wash in my dreams.

 

A huge fish dangling

over her shoulder, she pushes

her mask atop her head—

as she urges me to speak

the real name of god

who is and will be

woman, teeming

with the power to create,

certain of her bloody clay.

 

Each time I look toward her

through a long beam

that lights up the sky,

I see the sinewy limbs of an Amazon

veiled in translucent naked skin—

each time

she becomes my secret ache

and this time I understand

every man’s mystic craving

as the moon reaches out

illuminating

water

wet skin

fish

woman.

 

Linda Neal wrote her first poems in high school. She’s always been fascinated with words and the feelings they generate, which led her to study literature at Pomona College, earn a degree in linguistics and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. Her life at the beach, passion for story and work as a therapist create a richness of expression in her poetry. Dodge & Burn (Bambaz Press), her poetry memoir, came out in 2014.