Patricia Clark

Zodiacal Light: A Dialogue
December 16, 2011 Clark Patricia

Zodiacal Light: A Dialogue


To see it, you look to the north

but you must not be in the north.


How can I see it then?

You must take a long drive south.


How early must I rise?

Before early light, when stars yet gleam.


Which part of the sky to study?

Learn the horizon, your planet’s curve.


The description spoke of a pyramid shape—

can I expect that?


You will see dust shimmer, rise, drift.

Golden particles, astral pollen.


Could I begin driving tonight?

You will find impediments—weather, blockades.


What can I do to circumvent those?

You way will be longer, a season’s detour.


Must I give up a whole year in the wait?

Sometimes a year is the least particle.


Eyewitnesses agree: a soft glow, unearthly.

Can the last word be right? did you listen well?


I believe in the holy name, the journey long

and good. These are not the northern lights—


they are something else, entirely.

And for this I have waited, these many years?

Patricia Clark is the author of The Canopy (2017, Terrapin Books), her fifth book of poetry, and three chapbooks, including Deadlifts (2018, New Michigan Press). She teaches in the Writing Department at Grand Valley State University where she is also the university’s poet in residence. New work is just out (or forthcoming) in Cave Wall, Lake Effect, Plume, upstreet, Blackbird, and Barrow Street.