They Come Dressed in Feathers

thumbnail_-facebook_1483738169765That was how the spirit left the scene,

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

The moment becomes a window,

the photo an eternity to gaze through


becoming signs, rippling to find

where the child once stood,

so that the saddened would be assured,

as they gathered along the shore

beneath oak and behind shades,

that this was how he made the transition.

The next phase of the journey,

no longer earth bound,

contours cast off and scattered to the deep,

commingling than expanding

to include these wings

and all the moments that are arresting.

We can find you when heavy clouds accumulate,

as the light that breaks through the sorrow,

as the wisdom that all is temporal.

The ways and the means we mill over

must appear smaller from up there,

ant-like and in miniature.

The shadows that surround

can levitate from the ground

when the sun moves them,

when all the white homes

appear like a runway of bones for those in flight,

passing with flashing talons

to penetrate the dreams of those inside.

Clear as the glint in your eyes,

I remember the whole trajectory,

as you cross the sky like an Egyptian deity

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.


Up north the family cottage grows cold.

The once glowing furnace of the potbellied stove

emits no smoke from its chimney beneath the trees.

Yet the floors still creak

and something beyond the elements speak at the edges,

with the spring of your essences.

It moves beneath everything,

even when no one is listening.

The sound of cracked ice on the lake

reminds me that the ancestors will take

the surroundings given and speak through them,

moving the pine’s limbs to shadowbox with the wind,

they make themselves known, if only briefly,

outside the pages of that great mystery

unread in the cobwebbed dust of your library.

Our lives are the layers in the walls they built,

slivers of glass in the windows and lamps they fastened

another stitch in the tapestry,

that which completes me, speaks through me,

through the imagination, peering from a darkened sky,

projecting light on the pillows of the dream’s eye

like a moon wrapped in sheets of cloud

on a winter’s night.

I hear you most clearly in the quiet hours

before anyone wakes,

when the lake would ripple its way to the pier

and two loons draped in mist would appear,

skimming the water’s gaze

over the length of the great Birch,

they’ll materialize and search

through my guise, at once familiar

in white tunic and shoes of leather,

they’ll come dressed in feathers,

dipping one wing in the surfaces of memory,

moving what preceded me,

deconstructing but giving breath to me,

an extension, their living entity,

poised between worlds.


The Full Length


To proceed over memory

drawn down the breadth of its myth.

To withdraw sand from the glass

pressed against a cracked view

of an overgrown road

soon turning into a driveway of crushed shells.

The oppressive Paleozoic heat

that reeks of swamp and burns your feet

in dunes of moccasin decay.

Feel the pulse underneath this artery

as you pass the veil

on the way to the sea.

Through a portal of scrub oak

in the cumberland undergrowth,

&lt you’ll spy blue herons in the lagoon.

Set sail in a one man vessel,

attach meaning to cloud craft

drifting across the moon,

precipitate  night words

to breach the empty beach

in the hour when all else dims

but voices by the thousand

of unseen hosts rising from within

a cacophony of hymns.

It is a sound like searching,

following whims,

encompassing all that a highway would bring

to a child kept awake by heat lightning,

transfixed on the far reaches of the gulf,

that which is spread between the mist and the veil,

the imagination and the material.

Raw and unkempt,

the blanket was a thick fabric

with the whole night sky rolled up inside.

From out of the novelty of this lens

comes the nightly emergence of pens

to populate pages of explanation.

One legend speaks of a dragon

that brought the written word to the Americas

and we’ve followed ever since

the marks that singed

the trunks of old growth forests.

We’ve listened to tales

that spoke of brilliant trails

 as its fireball sails

from out of a mysterious wellspring of suggestion,

to illuminate the skies of our introspection

and to unveil the disguise

over this ancient connection

coiled throughout the years,

through w(rites) of passage and fears

that these pale reflections

lifted from its scales

are somewhat inadequate to reveal

the full length of its depth and perfection.