VISITORS

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                                                A song, not mine,
                              stuttered in the flame.

                                   – Wendell Berry (“From the Distance”)

I was awake and she was smiling,
eyes speaking through the darkness—
tears of relief in my own.

We have our visitors, hear the gravel
on the drive turn under wheel,
without warning. Or the dog barks.

Or upon the happenstance of a phrase
yet echoing, they arrive
around the fire we are warmed by.

Living beyond the life we contemplate,
they assure us with a sign, align
the flight of birds with words

gliding, or in a whir of wings
they clutch our hearts. Are we
but aging flesh measured by numbers

and graded like meat to be consumed
by the machine, or is there another
currency common among all men?

 

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