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

silhouettes

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.

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All that is Concealed

silhouette

The poem was like a silhouette

that waits for form,

a subtle weight in white sands,

it baits the creator

to express shape,

to conform to something

beyond the illusion of escape.

What is is what will change.

A beach, a set of words,

being released to the storm surge.

There was no scale to measure

the drawn drapes of a blue room receding

only to resume where there is no longer land,

just a moving wall and a disappearing man

dipped in ink

crossed out in dreams,

a rapid eye, a blinking screen

enclosing all thought

in static explosions of surf.

 

Into the drink, the before birth,

all liquid comprehension.

The gesturing wind

was an extension of limbs,

trees and inaccessible forests,

mangrove, black river cypress.

All that is concealed eventually sees light.

All that is consumed within a vast appetite,

the regurgitated words, the message often missed,

the pools beneath falls hold the tears of the mist,

like a lament for all the passing moments.

Clouds draped shadow over the valley walls,

slowly it crawls, this spirit revealed

in shifting hue,

in subtle song,

how it quickly withdrew

but remains long after the form is gone.

Dancing in the Aftermath

stock-footage-tropical-night-palm-trees-ocean-timelapse-tropical-night-palm-trees-ocean-timelapse

Darkness

Witnessed beneath the passing of storms

is an intermingling of forms

in a collective mourning.

It is like a mist that would slowly lift,

forming arms to embrace these transitory gifts.

Fear not for loss of visibility,

the mountain that is closed in by cloud

will be clear again before long.

As clear as the sound of the river,

as real as a chill’s shiver at higher elevation,

where the shrouded ridges of last light

backdrop the blank expectations

etched in the countryside.

In this expanse we trespass,

red eyed and sleepless.

Moonlight moves its restless

and illuminated stream

along the ground like silvery fingers,

gesticulating palm shadows

prowling like iguanas through the brush,

all is darkened and mysterious

when witnessed in the torch light upon leaves,

from our circles of heat,

dancing until morning to retreat

somewhere distant.

We keep the loss a continent away

and though never far from us,

some will stray,

while the hours drift

into thinking of them less,

drinking from pools that appear bottomless,

 the moon would still hover

to illuminate the cracks

of the future’s chewed through mask.

How it seeks to cover with forgetful revelry

all that distinguishes one night from another,

another night without a husband, a son or a brother.

 

From beyond the wind joins us

in dancing through the fallen leaves

and through trees made to bend over

lost loved ones as if to weep

and we leave our own notes

soaked with rain,

words of empathy,

for no mother

should feel the kind of pain

that comes from losing a son.

When he was gone,

the moon held everyone,

bound by the light

that sees the sea to its end,

to horizons perched

and appearing to teeter

over the horror

that we sometimes sail too close to

and this very wind that we hold fast to

pushes us through

a perilously slow process

of gathering our breath,

until strong enough to reverse the tide,

to release those who died,

blowing that cold wind

back into darkness again.