Three of us sprawled on the carpet
aisle six of Barnes and Noble, Self-Help section
after Religion, before Psychology. To my side
a shopping bag of new dresses nestled in black.
We are looking for an atlas, a guide
to where one goes when the father dies,
when a husband’s suddenly gone.
No maps here. Neither in Travel.
We sit closer on this journey than in recent years.
We look into each other’s faces, we listen
without interruption. Between us
there is comfort, there are answers.
She arrives in silence
sensation of moving air
barely there, almost
like a hand brushing the foot
of my bed in darkness.
She lights on a branch
beside my stock-still presence
looks over her shoulder
deep brown saucer eyes
that seem to take me in
that seem to plea
for my silence, my respect
of her domain. She unfolds lifts
spreads her wings, floats to a tree
close by, turns her plumaged head
and eyes me kindly
as if seeking accord.
I sense a nest nearby, brood of eggs
newly hatched – blind naked
gray fluff, open beaks.
I feel tingling in my breasts
reaching, pulling close
her feathered flight in my hair.
In 2015, after a long academic career in education, Martha Snell completed the MFA program in poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have appeared in The Poet’s Billow, Streetlight Magazine, Tuck Magazine, on the Live Poet’s Society website and elsewhere. She was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Bermuda Triangle Prize (The Poet’s Billow) and received the Mary Jean Irion Prize from Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends in Chautauqua, New York in August 2015.
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