Transient Light

by    /  July 7, 2020  / Comments Off on Transient Light

by Christina Springer

A night manager accepts
the moon’s detritus fills
‘n empties her.

In battered women’s West Virginia, my shelter is deep
down the hollow’s gaping crack. Past trailers like lice,
crab grass, on blocks – rust scabbed trucks ‘n battered
rebel cars too proud to properly give up or die. They run –

these women with their children see some tv psa drinking gourd
‘n one anonymous midnight call later
twists my feet down tar into the secret dark
Meeting place. Or trap. Anyone might linger after happy hour

mixes up hate’s intoxicating spirits. My blood too thin for shadows.
Womanist words richly bewitch. Skin triggers hillbilly fingers.
I prefer the limping women. Groaning from the safe
locked back seats of police cars arriving sullen

like cat burglars surrendering prized heirlooms. Safely
handed over at my front door. Intricate fractures, delicate
hematoma, internal scars going back before that first
womb delivered wound.

Transient light, I greet you.
you are in there somewhere
love you like I love myself.

A night manager wrestles
her tenebrous n’ thick rage,
into a sweet like molasses.

One feral caramel girl, Harriet, refused underwear.
Squatted anywhere to evacuate. Snatched food from the table.
Ate behind the door like a rat always watching, twitching clever

for life. No slave narrative could explain this broken 3 year old.
Observed her White father laugh. Shotgun sighted. Her mother
waiting for him to yell ​run nigger bitch run

Gun powder. Ear drum dance. Later, heavy musk sinks
under the moaning bed. Creaking ​sorry. Shuddering
love. This child listens, watches ‘n learns.

Transient light, I love you.
terrified eye peeking out
see you like I see you.

A night manager
throws open her darkness
like thick fat love arms.

Harriet’s legs thrashed. Arms flailed. Throat reddened,
emitted scratches rather than screeches when I hauled
her stinking dripping body to the toilet;
caught run away food snatching hands; held her in a chair
as her neck puppy twist thrashed.

Fierce incisors rip my arm. Clamp down. ‘N tasting
blood, she bit harder. ​Do it again. You are in there
somewhere. I love you,
I croon to rolling eyes. Teeth
tear me again. ​Do it again. I laugh. ​Somewhere you are in there.
I love you. I repeat, do it again. I love you like you love life.

Harriet bit ‘n bit enough temporary crimson crescent tattoos
to quiet, slump, release to sleep in my singsong whispering arms.
I love you. I love you. You are here now.I whispered. Loving her

enough to break her again. Loving her to wake ready
to learn to toilet; to sit; to eat; to play. I prayed

Transient light, drift down.
Love her a suit of armor.
Let her see it like I feel my heavy own.

Let us manage the night.
Let us eat ‘n never be eaten.
Let us howl ‘n hold back the beasts.

Christina Springer is an Alt.Black artist who uses text, performance, video and other visual expressions. More about her work at

City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. With the Poem of the Week series, we seek to increase the readership and appreciation of poetry locally by publishing poems written by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience. In partnership with the Poetry Editors at Sampsonia Way Magazine, City of Asylum advances our mission to defend, celebrate, and build on creative freedom of expression. This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

Comments are closed.