VISITATIONS

by Naila Francis

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, seduced
by this trackless night, its 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. Believe when the body
is broken, death is a starlit strut
that lifts the spirit home.
Is that where you are, sending postcards
on such fragile wings, even the bluebird
that hopped across my path, each
sudden sway of light?
Every one
signed, love
is the only
news.


Naila Francis is a writer, wedding officiant, death midwife and ardent joy enthusiast. She lives in Philadelphia.

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