Laura Reece Hogan
I cannot look at the sky the day of your funeral crying down
rain, rivering into your open grave. Although he will never walk
the earth again, the priest intones. Mud shrouds my shoes, no upper
visible. In the church the panes reach for heaven but that glass
cuts far above me. Mouths scatter stories like ashes, fingers tap me,
Did you see? The eagle in the window? Floating while we sang
“On Eagle’s Wings,” rising up to the steeple on cue? My cousin:
Did you? The eagle? He will never walk the earth again.
For years I refused the eagle that was not my own because I
did not see. If a tree falls, and you do not hear the breaking,
does it truly? hints of a toppled trunk, of a feathered miracle
muscle against open eyes and the hard heartwing beat of sorrow.
The logic of grief instructs: absence is a bitter remainder. Holes
blacken with weight, nothingness augments, an ironic gravity
multiplier. Seventeen years later it came to me,
the divine point: the cloud rather than the ray. The things hoped
rather than grasped. The unheard pine cracks, and the fissures run
through me, the golden glides outside the frame, beyond my sight,
and wings thrust in my blood that keeps pumping, pumping forward,
my holed tongue tasting the way home. Perhaps you do not walk
my father, in fields I cannot know. Yet, the tree. The eagle.