Image by Louise Dickinson-Brown
by Lewis Turco
When she died she became a wind.
Her body turned to dust, but her breath
expanded to fill the landscape of her mind
and to inhabit an old geography:
the hills and plains of childhood and the vales
of her despair. She looked down
out of the cloudy air to see
the house she had abandoned filling
with life again. She blew out of the maples,
eased to the windows, tried to filter under
the sash to breathe through the familiar rooms.
This she was denied, but when
the children issued from the doors
to play in the yard she bent the grass
before them, chilled their toes, whispered they were not
welcome in the place where she had never felt
anything but a stranger, and stranger
still in her body of air.
Although they paused to listen, though
they thought a voice was speaking to them
that they recognized from dreams from which they woke
with a vague sorrow born of midnight shadow,
they soon were taken with another thought,
or an image from the bright
world there before them. And at last,
grown weary even of couching in
the roots of nightshade, listening to the sounds
of ordinary passages of bone and blood,
she traveled north, moving against the grain
of the autumn flocks seeking
the climes and means of flesh. She came
where she belonged by temperament at
last. She recognized as part of her the floes
and washes of her life, the life she had made
out of thin air, and there she would remain,
feeding on herself and on
the white bones of the winter of her despair.
All the poems, without the images, are available in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper. Also available in a Kindle edition. Copyright, and all rights reserved by the author.