Sound of Sunlight

From Futility Closet:

Alexander Graham Bell believed that his greatest achievement was the photophone, a device that could transmit speech on a beam of light. The speaker’s voice would strike the back of a mirror, modulating a reflected ray. When the ray reached the receiver the process was reversed, producing sound waves.

“I have heard articulate speech by sunlight!” Bell wrote to his father in 1880. “I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing! … I have been able to hear a shadow and I have even perceived by ear the passage of a cloud across the sun’s disk. You are the grandfather of the Photophone and I want to share my delight at my success.”

That idea interested me to the point that I had to shake some of the imagined, unscientific particulars out of my head. Consequently, a poem fell out:

Laundry Day

In the sun’s setting shaft, lighted
dust and my mother’s voice I hear. My living
room full of it, which is skin, and it smells like soot
sweat, burned-out in glowing effigy. I fold. Her
voice: minivan ArmorAll and Twizzlers tasted
with Dolly Parton. Her Voice: heard over yellow
linoleum in the kitchen, greased black and scuffed. So
also, here and now it travels, as it did with car, dinner
steam, and curled plastic floor, she rolls into my ear
marbles into a black velvet bag, kept with a cinch. Leapt on
the sun stream while skating on the black
frozen pond of space’s pool, she phoned
me with light. The light and she
spoke in harmony; thus
they traveled well. Diamond-taught dance she
rasps from smoky lungs. Voice plods with camel
strength, breathed at speed, leaping
particles like lily pads
in order to sound, four
simple words, we know them well. “I love you, child,
so I’ll tell you what I just heard her
say, “Put away your socks.” Her
voice: A moth with lighting for wings
thundered thru the deep, one arc at a time.

Poetics of Prayer @Izak