These poems first appeared in Medusa's Kitchen.
It was only the mask of a bird
There was but a whisper of music,
A tempting scent of wild thing.
We could never remain inside.
A gleaming spell fashioned of mahogany
Seemed to pull us just beyond.
We felt we were but sweet captives of night
The mask would draw us down.
We studied the shape of the bench
Just below the mask. We wouldn’t
Let these shapes desert us, that his
Was a persistent thing, a wing a bird,
A shape of madrone but still forming
Itself, unfolding itself like a song.
We could not explain the piercing eyes as carving
Rather as a truth that we could know
Spreading toward us, opening a perfect emptiness
The point where imagination is as pure black,
Over the edge of understanding we watched
Or seemed to watch the way wood
Can find form as would bone.
We heard it sing this bird,
This mass of twigs, this truth, this mask.
THE TRANSFORMING ANGEL
Those were not tears at all.
They looked to be tears but
The purity of their crystal
Migration was like a spell,
The mouth of some errant wind
That had become confused when made
To carry the finest perfumes,
The memories of those near death,
The glass of children realizing
They have been left alone for too long
And no one is coming for them
Except the night. Corridors
Open to the cold but promising
Some safe haven, some exchange
Where trinkets are traded for
A few miles of dark woods
That have remained outside of history.
When we least expect it
The glittering of a star held
In the hand, the comforting
Word given as a token, unexplained,
Unexpected and undaunted by
Any disturbance in the atmosphere.
It is at these times when
Great silence enters any room
We occupy and holds us in its
Thrall. We will beg for any other
Answer. All we say will look
So like tears. All we feel
Will seem to be the purest
Liquid meant to redeem us,
But they will be rivers, rivers,
Truly rivers and we will find
Ourselves upon them knowing
That they are most powerful,
That they bear us where they will,
That we have no idea at all
Where we are going or what those
Choirs of angels could be or why
They might be here at all.