JOAN FLEMING studied poetry in Wellington and now lives in Golden Bay. Her poems have appeared in Sport, Hue & Cry, Turbine, Moving Worlds and Takahe. She says, “‘Theory of Light’ is sort of a farewell poem. It’s about the light we give out being reflected back to us; it’s about the things we carry, and what we let go.”

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       Theory of light

       Andy goes craving all over the beach
       with her red grip and her red grapple.

       A red apple after dark isn’t red,
       it’s a black apple.

       She says she’ll black up if she doesn’t have salt.
       She finds a sea urchin full of holes.

       What’s a blue sea after dark?
       Are these the spaces where breath goes?

       I find a gorgeous gold-yellow branch,
       a colour, a describable friend.

       We carry our findings, our branches
       and urchins, from end to end.

       The blue and red and yellow everywhere
       is our theory of colour, of light.

       Young salt-footed fools, you know there are no ends,
       only ends in sight.