A man lay dying in a shuttered room
unconscious, barely breathing, as his wife
sat near him, weeping. Someone whispered prayers
all night, until the unremembered dawn
broke through their darkness. Steps mounted the stairs:
a woman entered as he fought for life.
She crossed herself, and then began to sing.
And as the morning sunlight seems to bring
illumination to the forest, fills
what seemed like empty air with energy,
with unsuspected radiances drawn
from somewhere else, almost an ecstasy
of interwoven streams of light, instills
within the wanderer a sudden peace,
just so her voice brought those present release
from weeping and from grief, and in their place
a quiet joy crept in. They wept, but now
their weeping was transfigured in her song:
only spiritual beauty could allow
such transformations, opening to grace
as rose buds, warmed by dawn, open and bloom.
About the Poet
W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree, 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree, 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line, 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. A native of San Diego, he received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, and PhD in Creative Writing from University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and LaNelle Daniel Prizes. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Gulf Coast and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. He currently works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.