I can guide my spirit
towards the withheld
if I reach out
I can touch the skirt of the island
I can paddle over pine reflections
as sirens sing like loons
I do not need a boat
I can simply walk upon the waters
words collapse upon the page
in the slow molasses light
what I needed to say
inside that silence
life is blended in
an enormous need
in the words I cannot write
images push further away
earthly words fail me
already your face is featureless
hovering like a spell
my words are heavy as bricks
drying on the wash line
and I almost typed dying
The Message Was Delivered
Ask me about going home, he said,
when I get there. He was dying.
His body was lingering behind,
half-way towards the beyond.
I know where I am going, he insisted,
and I know I don’t belong there.
He was measuring doubt
while asking forgiveness.
I’ll send you a message
to let you know I made it,
he promised, adding, I was not so bad,
I’d seen worse, done worse.
He was gone — a breath pushed out,
I hoped he heard me wishing him well.
I never really expected a message;
not even in a bird’s octaves
I swear the roof opened up that day,
his soul venturing tentatively out, then
bounding from his body. The hospital thought
I was feverous from the loss.
I wasn’t. My brooding lifted.
The margins of love swung open
and he was accepted, flaws and everything,
his soul polished, almost blinding me.
You’d have to witness such transformations;
otherwise, you’ll never experience them.
But I’ll tell you this: I never expected to see him
inside that incredible light.
© Martin Willitts Jr
Martin Willitts Jr has 24 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 16 full-length collections “The Uncertain Lover”, “Coming Home Celebration”. Forthcoming books include “Harvest Time” (Deerbrook Press) and the Blue Light Award winner “The Temporary World”. He is an editor for Comstock Review.