The Oldest Light in the Universe

A cosmic day is longer 
than any of our ordinary 
days: delirium of time 
ticking in expanding circles,
distributing the slow-built 
honey of the universe. 
Telephone coil, endless 
transmitting chain drive, 
celestial ladder: the bounded 
seas and rivers' continuous 
movements shadowing
the heavens, partitioning
these puny hours. What
is the actual length 
of wars, of the track
by which both soldiers
and prisoners return?
And the years wrapped
as circlets of gold around
ring fingers, or the time
it takes for a branch
to break out in doubloons
of persimmon? Smoke 
from a thurible lofts 
and holds in the air:
threads of frankincense
write a long letter in
the coals after burning.
What is it we hold on
our tongues, mouthing
love for the other? Echo
of bodies that cleaved 
together: outlasting 
the swing of the chain,
its pulleys, crescents, 

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