I spent many years walking the deserts and climbing the mountains of Southern California. Now I spend time in the Eastern Forests from Maryland to Vermont and practice woodworking near the Anacostia River. I hold a PhD in Writing from the University of Houston. My poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and Potomac Review Prize. My work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha and Aesthetica. Currently I work in Washington, DC. and am an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.
A single dove flew in the opened door,
perching among church rafters while she sang
"Ave Maria" as the incense rose,
and as small candles warmed the rising air.
The beauty of her song seemed to transpose
the mourners’ grief to joy as her voice rang
across the perfumed air, seemed to enthrall
and calm each listener. Just then, a small
feather, perhaps a fringe of down, began
to float above their heads, light as a breath,
light as the verses of a whispered prayer
half-murmured at the moment of our death.
The feather rose gently above the span
of central beams, and gracefully returned,
moved by an unseen force. A small flame burned
within an oil lamp: perhaps it warmed
spirals of air and drove the quill along
smoothed columns as it drifted everywhere?
I cannot say. I only know her song
rose with the feather’s movements, and transformed
by unseen energy, appeared to soar.
©2016 W.F. Lantry