“Prisoner’s cinema” is the term given to visual hallucinations reported by prisoners confined to dark cells and by others kept in darkness for long periods of time.
Lit by a million specks of light,
all your dust turns holy.
What’s rotten in you burns
and burns. You, a shadow-
you, gone glowing
Catherine wheel, a spoked
gloaming. You know lead can lodge
into an animal’s skull, turn
the skull into a lit temple
of its wanderings, and this is how
you understand the fabled bowl
a saint carries, its hollow lit
by the eyes it cradles and the saint
eyeless and God-filled. You are not
eyeless and God is nowhere
to witness how you become
the wheel and the body it breaks,
a spectacle of light you cannot fathom
until you fathom it—flooded
as you are with shadow, darkness
taut as an animal’s shank
until it ripples at your touch. Pools
in the bowl your hands make.