My Fingernails Are Fresnel Lenses by Christopher Fritton

My Fingernails Are Fresnel Lenses by Christopher Fritton

Reviews, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008
Sunnyoutside Press
, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-934513-06-4
Pamphlet, 10 pp., $7
Review by Cynthia Reeser

There is magnitude in light, even if only a pinprick. Christopher Fritton’s chapbook itself is miniscule, measuring a light four by four inches, but in its case, it is not volume or quantity that matters, but content—though it is handsomely presented in a hand-set, letterpress-printed, hand-stitched volume. My Fingernails Are Fresnel Lenses begins,

In 2005, Japanese scientists confirmed a
long held suspicion that the human body
emanates detectable light. Every night,
before I fall asleep, I can think only two

There is light coming out of my hands.
There is light coming out of my feet.

The poems are not so much segmented traditionally into individual pieces, as they are united into one cohesive work whose parts function much like cells within the same organism, all working together and toward a similar purpose. On another page:

These thoughts are electrochemical.

These chemicals are bodies.
This thought has a body.

The chapbook as a whole functions as a current of reasoning, describing the light of thought, recollection and all that is stored via chemistry within the mind. The memory of the moment two lovers first met, the knowledge of the words they spoke, is enveloped within the portions of the brain that retain such occurrences as memories.

Therefore, the author describes, memories themselves are given body by the very chemistry that contains them, which is emitted in light from the body as a whole, even through, it is said, the fingernails. “My fingernails are Fresnel lenses,” Fritton writes. “An amplified semaphore of all those bodies.”

Light is literally knowledge, and knowledge light, rendered here beautifully in a memorable little book.

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