This is no small
thing: to be
the wickless
candle, borrowed
hands of the divine
to let there be
light even here
in the already
well-lit rooms.


There’s always
more light to be shone
when you take
from the body:
around the ear
under the nose—
flare the fingertips,
sunburst the palms—


Though ordinary
this is no small
wonder to the child
who watches
the novelty trick
with the cheap
plastic toy; no
small knowledge
is this, no simple
bit of mischief
when a trick’s
a miracle on a
different stage
no matter
the size—the
smallest flame,
its flicker that
passes for radiance
in the darkest

Maya Phillips is a poet and journalist based in New York. She is the author of the poetry collection Erou and the forthcoming NERD: On Navigating Heroes, Magic, and Fandom in the 21st Century and is the arts critic fellow at the New York Times.

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