Visitations

When the lights dim above the dinner table,

a flickering warmth, and the white butterfly claps

its wings against my streaked window pane,

willful heft of air — what news do you bring?

Have you tapered into luster, lute of open

sky? Was the crossing safe? Midwifed?

Tranquil? A pinprick snatch of time?

I am standing at the ivory gate, wondering,

wandering

the trackless night, this cryptic

grief-scraped dream.

Everything lives on, a world

around my treble mouth, collapsing

on its tears.

You lived in peace and will go in peace.

That was what you said. But what of us pilgrims,

pinned to all this lovely peril, span

of tangled lives?

I want to praise your boundlessness,

its migratory gold. Because when the body

is broken, death is a starlit strut, a thornless

crown that lifts the spirit home.

Is that where you are, sending postcards

on such fragile wings, a sudden

sway of light? And perhaps even the bluebird

that hopped across my path. Every one

signed, love

is the

only

news.

Una

(for Una Francis,

1955-2018)

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