December 24, 2010

A Thousand Birds

by Hilda Morley 

A thousand birds—they flew out of
your mouth at your dying,
                                       as you said
                                       they would
& bewildered me:
                         They bewilder me still.
Nearly 48 months have passed & the beating
of those wings has haunted,      filled
                                              this room
                                              where I
sit now writing, the room
where you died:
                         a clattering
of wings has passed through these walls.
                                    Something has stopped.
is unable to go any farther.
                                    The wings are
                                    still now
                                    & I rock from
                                    side to side
                                    with the faintest
movement barely perceptible because I cannot
breathe in this stillness
                                        & must set that power
               those enormous wings
flying again

December 11, 2010

The Silent Country

by me.

I have known blinding, coppery mornings
heavy and aching with the weight
of coming hours, months, decades --
                        the endless erosion
of things we once knew, of places we know now.
Guaranteed nothing but this moment's exhale.

I have known silent afternoons
of sitting shoulder to shoulder
with you in sepia tinted coffee shops,
holding hot mugs between our hands and
                        staring through windows
with eyes hungry for wonder -- searching
for color -- as though it were not
sitting right next to us, rubbing
shoulders with us, dressed
in living sinews and blood red heart.

But, friend, I have also known mornings
of slow, unfolding blue --
the lingering dawn its own silent country.
And I have known moments in that country;
moments of standing arm in arm
with you, cradled by the frame
of an open window, breathing deeply
the damp, sharp air.
Guaranteed nothing but this sky,
pregnant with surprise
                        and coming rain.