Sean Ulman

The Light Collector’s Museum

               Glinting aluminum jousting lance wedged into pretzeled tree roots. Night knight pole-vaulted into Light collector’s jungle canopy cottage. Lacquered by blots of silver rain, bolts of melt sun. Sun drained (slow glow). Today’s last spits of luminous ink. Crescent moon blossomed.
               “Welcome,” Light collector beamed. “Just arranging my museum. Care to glance?”
               Spot-lighted palm fronds and palmetto blades. Multi-leveled light leapt wildly out of untangling angles. The museum was one bamboo hutch, three shelves, quality not quantity. Knight shielded black eyes with shadowed hand and patiently pleasurably perused each object:

               copper genie lamp fueled by pure lava dollop
               fifteen fireflies frozen mid-fire in chunky amber paperweight
               10 mL vial of liquefied sun
               holographic photograph of sunray-plated noon sea
               third order fresnel lens lighthouse light
               traffic light stuck blinking yellow
               slivered layer of chitin-thin tilted snow crust pitching invisible crystals
               flaring red rescue flare balloon condensed, cascading within snowless snow globe
               blue-bled sky swath mined from bubbly cloud caves the moment a storm cleared

               “That specimen was a lucky pull.” Light collector traced the skypath swatch. “But this piece…” Commonplace candle. White wax, thick wick, tame flame. “Is my newest favorite of late.” Light collector blew on blue flame. Lost breath. Clapped air. Flicked wick. Flame flashed. Tricky flicker licked aqua, crimson, celadon, cherry. “An eternal flame!”
               Light collector observed knight observing. Sensed insouciance. One minute passed. Light collector insisted, “Pray, your impression, please?”
               Knight nodded, said staidly “All you’ve fetched is quite fetching, friend.”
               “Thank you.” Light collector shelved candle. “Have you any night treasures to share?”
               Knight unpackaged his raven-wing arms (nothing). Pressed shadowed hand to Light collector’s rib cage. Located heartbeat. Whispered:
               “Feel that release, stress decrease? The day ending, ease of evening, stooping toward sleep, another day down… I bring that everywhere I am. Can you see it? Onset of night? Birds resting in roosts, cows sauntering back to barns, workers punching out, folks pouring drinks, women tapping on makeup, mothers cutting vegetables…? Slackened pace, patience, peach and purple skies, sky-gazers’ placid eyes, stars sprouting, moon’s morning…? That hush!? A made bed, cool blankets. I am that relief! Release. Such safeness needs no embellishments. Ah-nah…”
               Knight lurched backwards. Braced against Light collector’s hutch. Closed eyes. Saw millions of light bulbs flicking on in homes. Heard endless clicking cacophony. Thought, ‘creature habit – constant victor.’ Opened eyes. Looked in Light collector eyes. Asked himself out loud, “Why can’t they wait?”

Sean Ulman works in Alaska as a technician for a shorebird study. In the winter he lives in Delaware where he writes about Alaska. His work has recently been featured in Emprise Review, Thieves jargon, Kill Author and Anastomoo Handwritten.
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