Marguerite at Midnight
A woman, standing near the fires, seems
alone, the flames behind her glowing red,
whipped by a swirling wind, eternal, torn
by air to tongues, by voices harmonized
as if the chants, renewed in light, were born
a thousand years before, and overhead
merge with both flame and smoke, casting a shade
along the unmarked track her footsteps made
moments ago. I can’t say where she’s been
or even know the messages she heard:
illuminated darkness realized
within her voice, recrafted as a word
whispered in vortexes where embers spin
around each other, blazing into ash.
But on her open gown, those same tongues flash
reflections of themselves in linen folds
moved by one wind together, and her hair,
backlit, distracts my vision, hypnotized
by radiance, by her. Now everywhere
voice, fire, form, combine, a flood that holds
unearthly echoes in its glowing stream.
This poem was first published in The Nervous Breakdown.
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 Chapbook 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. He received his PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry (US), CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and Old Red Kimono LaNelle Daniel Prizes. His work has appeared widely online and in print in journals such as Aesthetica, Gulf Coast and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.
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