First the eyes widen.
Iris expands, pupil shrinks,
a face perceptibly brighter
as though reflecting the soft glow
of the proverbial incandescent bulb
that shines just above the forehead.
not a Cheshire Cat leer
barely a hint at the inner leap.
Shoulders sink as the back unfurls;
chest lifts and falls
with an easy sigh.
For one ephemeral moment
body and mind unite,
grasp a sliver of universe
When I teach something, whether a point on writing, attorney-client privilege, or how to cope with the rages of adolescent angst, I look for signs of understanding. They are small, but powerful, and that moment when comprehension reveals itself is one of the most beautiful things in my experience. That instant is one I look to capture here.
The keys to writing the poem lay in word choices that revealed the subtlety of the moment, at the same time showing its fleeting nature and the significance of it. The poem is short because the moment is, but within it I intentionally use multisyllabic words ("ephemeral," "incandescent," "proverbial," etc.) to show the stretching of the mind and to simulate a lingering on that moment.