Light Therapy by Kip Knott

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It’s all about the light. It’s in the light. The light, the light.

I repeat my mantra over and over again for 20 minutes every day as I bathe in the multi-spectrum glow of my SAD lamp, darkness hiding in the periphery like a hunter in a deer blind.

It’s all about the light.


I wish my father could have seen my light.

It’s in the light.


His light was a spiritual incandescence that I never could see for myself.

The light, the light.


His light was born out of Sunday scriptures his mother read to him and a razor strop his father smacked across his back.

It’s all about the light.


He would pray silently to his light in the pre-dawn darkness on the first morning of every deer season.

It’s in the light.


Sometimes his prayers would be answered with a trophy buck or doe.

The light, the light.


More often than not, though, he would come home with nothing but a skinny squirrel or near frostbitten hands, still never doubting the light.

It’s all about the light.


Both he and my mother believed the light was brightest at the bottom of a bottle of Jack, and they worked together every day to reach that light.

It’s in the light.


My mother took his nightly preaching as a sign that the light had chosen our house to be a holy sanctuary for all the lost souls of the world.

The light, the light.


“The light,” my father would shout to my mother and me and anyone else he could persuade to cross our threshold, “showers us in glory and washes us clean of our sins!”

It’s all about the light.


“Hallelujah, Brother Abner!” the tiny congregation would holler back, fanning the flames of my father’s alcohol-fueled piety.

It’s in the light.


And then to prove his devotion, my father would un-holster the .38 he carried everywhere he went just in case he found himself lost in dark places, press the nose of the barrel against his temple, and pull the trigger.

The light, the light.


At the sound of the empty chamber’s sharp and hollow click, the congregants would become nearly feral, screaming and howling and praising the power of the light.

It’s all about the light.


“The time has come to be anointed by the light!” my father shouted from atop the stone hearth in front of the blue and orange flames of a coal-fueled fire the night I turned ten, the night I was to be baptized by the light.

It’s in the light.


“We give ourselves to the light!” my mother yelled as she pushed me toward my father.

The light, the light.


“I can’t see the light, I can’t see the light,” I wailed, crying for the soul I was sure I had lost forever.

It’s all about the light.


“Come to me, my son,” my father called as he reached for me with his left hand.

It’s in the light.


“Let me show you the light,” he sang as he raised his right hand that held the gun.

The light, the light.


“The light will protect us all from evil!” my mother harmonized, her hands reaching out towards the fire.

It’s all about the light.

“The light will save all of us, you and — ” my father began but did not finish because the bullet that tore through his temple stole more than the word “me” from his lips.

It’s in the light.


It stole the light that lit my father’s eyes.

The light, the light.


And it let my darkness in.



Kip Knott spends his spare time traveling throughout Appalachia and the Midwest in search of art treasures. His debut collection of short stories, Some Birds Nest in Broken Branches, was released earlier this year from Alien Buddha Press. His newest book of poetry, Clean Coal Burn, is available from Kelsay Books. You can learn more about him at kipknott.com.

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