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,
the trackless night, this cryptic
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
(for Una Francis,