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.


Going Home


Going home

is a series of discarded photos.

 A movie, a montage of moving faces

crammed into different phases,

blurred on the fogged up window spaces,

all stoplight swirls of people on autopilot
in the horror of passing through half-alive.

The wage slaves with blinders

spray over the myriad details.

Perhaps the only way to avoid this fate,

the only true discipline
is to stop for a moment the spinning carousel,

and apprehend the tiny miracle

shot through with words and coming out the other side

where faceless entities reside,

to read and comment and connect this ritual

of fleeting interpretation

to the actual substance of our connection.

When transcripts from the underground

is this beautiful mist landing on the sound

of my fingers pressed between pages.

The film merges with the car alarm,

connected to the wind that moves the curtain

to charm the leaves into heightened heaves of breath

from hidden recesses.

Awake again, as if Lazarus from out of sickness,

I can finally smell the tangerine peels from Chinatown markets,

I feel the bliss of one man’s lit cigarette

as it hangs out of an open window

to bear witness to the street scenes

packed into the periphery of dreams.

There’s the teary airport discovery

that no one knows when the next time they’ll share company,

that time together is a slippery slope,

a shifting season in woodsmoke,

a chalk drawing the rain would soak

and wash away

with the sound of TV static.

Under many years of cover,

certain circumstances bring these memories to light.

Surfacing at last behind the blast of an engine,

an explosion, a flag at half mast

for the unknown victims of your exploration.

A textured recollection, a fragment thrown

into the haphazard puzzle of going home.

A scent, a street, a body of water,

all that you’ve ever known,

pieced together, a form returning

to the puzzle of going home.