TRACI BRIMHALL


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE VISITATION

In the new dream, we search for a sacrifice,
put our fingers in our own wounds,

wake with our hands over each other’s mouths.
Boys return from war as men who know

two languages. We learn three so we will know
the message when we hear it. The street prophet

says, If God is your enemy, rejoice, for the darkness
remembers you
. In the old dream, we readied

our stainless altar, but a wolf stole our offering.
We were lucky enough to sing the song once,

but we couldn’t bring the dead any joy. Men ask
to borrow our sadness so they won’t have to feel

their own. Yes, we said and kissed their arms. Yes, trees
cover us with shadows. We give the prophet money

to save something we’ll never see. In the first dream,
men accept a new ecstasy. Our breath shows itself

to us and disappears. As we enter the woods,
the astonished wolf lifts its mouth from the lamb.
 
 
 
 
THE BLESSING

No one wants to take the stillborn robin
curled in its blue egg, caught

between dreaming and its first morning,
and put it back in its mother’s nest.

No one wants to be the one to put their hand
in the lion’s mouth. It waits beyond the fire.

Something always waits beyond the fire—
not a bride, but a white dress. Not a foal,

but its bones. Something waits inside a black tent
in a yellowed field—an archangel with two hearts

in his chest. When he asks for a sacrifice, I offer
another woman’s son. The blood on my hands

becomes wine. No one wants to claim the child
bathed in flame, turning its new body toward the trees.
 
 
 
 



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