A Visitation

It comes to her as a sudden flash
in the final hours of vigil: a blur

of wings attaching themselves
improbably, like some kind of vintage

brooch, to the pleated underside
of a casket lid. Even then she’d learned

to cultivate a skepticism for things
that appeared too sweet, too sure, too

magical— so where did the hummingbird
come from, and what could it mean if there

were room to entertain the possibility
that the soul doesn’t only divide from out

of its own reservoirs of desire? The hardest
part is that both the seen and unseen are also

aspects of language. Does she speak of it,
or does she fold the bird back into

the silence enclosing both of them like
an envelope? And the body, too, of

the beloved. The one that flew away
and left this shape cooling in its box.

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