Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Marsha, my sister, died on May 31st.
Overhead, a raven flies like a black arrow
dividing the sides of my head like a part,
parting the air and pointing ahead. On the left
and on the right are the nothing.
Time slides away like a jacket shed.
The raven alights so that I see it and know
it’s for me to step into its prescience.
Iridescent black feathers silk my shoulders and hands.
Claws ride the earth and then the sky. I see the ground
through a rainbow sphere. The timeline has skipped
two lines of light.
Light travels in little skeins weaving a filigree map
to conduct a story in this world. I glide down and pluck
one shining thread, carry it above the trees.
I feel you riding between my neck and shoulders
slightly to the right, warm and round as a golden ball
of late afternoon sun.
“Go there,” you say.
As we descend, a white mist envelops us.
When we land, we are in human form but sturdy like trees,
our legs invisibly rooted into the sidewalk
of Wynnewood Shopping Center.
“Let’s do this,” you laugh, and I shrink into child size.
You reach down and take my hand,
push open the glass door of Toy World.
“You can have anything you like.”
On the left, soft, pink baby dolls wink
in little boxes from floor to ceiling.
When I was little the first time,
they would have been my choice,
but not today.
I walk straight to the far-right corner and there on the bottom shelf
rests a silver chest, the size of a lunch box, inscribed
with the words, Mystery Magic, in midnight blue.
I take it with both hands,
look up at you
The desert night rolls outward in concentric circles
from where we stand. Our small fire does not eclipse
the larger fires spinning in the heavens. Sparks pirouette
in pink spirals.
“Open it,” you say.
Diamonds of starlight shimmer on its lid.
You take a sip from your beer, light a cigarette.
I lift straight up. Darkness
like glossy fudge fills the interior.
“Put your hand inside.”
Light bathes my fingers, my palm, my wrist.
When my forearm is all the way in, I get the idea—
I could keep going. “Where does it lead?” I ask.
“Only God knows that. You have to trust.”
You look into the fire and tears glitter gold
and silver on your olive cheeks.
“When I died, I learned that. Darkness
can turn into light. Light can rest in darkness.”
“Why are you crying?” I ask.
“Grace,” you say. “Grace.”