Halo

by Tom Barlow

The light came in flat under the clouds the
way it does sometimes at sunset in the winter,
projecting the gold of the suncatcher in the window
onto the cascade of her hair, and I realized where
artists found halos for their angels. Her
silhouette was holy in a way I thought I had lost
to God’s brutality, but the magic didn’t last longer
than the time it took for her to pull the blinds.

Later that evening, I tried to recapture the
moment in a photograph using a flashlight and
a mirror, but all I accomplished was to connect
the thinning patch on her crown to the hackneyed
landscape we’d bought at a motel auction.
You can’t force providence. You can only make
sure you are open to the gift when it is given,
the way the fish waited patiently for Noah’s flood,
then danced in the blue-green light, shadowed
by one lone boat and a feast of floating bodies.


Tom Barlow is an American poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in over 100 journals and anthologies including They Said (Black Lawrence) and Best New Writing and journals including Hobart, Temenos, Forklift Ohio, Redivider, Your Daily Poem, and the Stoneboat Literary Journal.

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