Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Annabelle MoseleyJanuary 11, 2018

for A.B.

Those childhood nights I ate at your table,
where life's mysteries were broken and shared—
I studied the blue willow plates you set each night.

Even during the worst winter,
my fork swept potatoes, gravy, bits of savory meat
and uncovered a story.

Each night I told myself a different tale, cast in the familiar pattern—
there were pagodas, fences, shining waterways
and a boat with a figure searching the horizon.

But what kind of wind made the willow fronds splay so far apart?
Who were the three figures holding lanterns on a bridge?
And why was the pair of birds larger than the strife below?

You fed me from willow-patterned dishes
when I didn't think I could eat—
when my father was dying, and daffodils were frozen under snow.

But always on your plates
flying above the relentless searching—
two birds, facing each other, wings arched in triumph.

That winter, in blue and white patterns,
the Holy Spirit, in its many-feathered glory
descended on each dish you placed before me.

why was the pair of birds larger than the strife below?

Annabelle Moseley is the author of nine books, including the double volume A Ship to Hold the World and The Marionette's Ascent (Wiseblood Books). She teaches theology and literature at St. Joseph's Seminary and St. Joseph's College in New York.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

"3 Body Problem" is an imaginative Netflix adaptation of Cixin Liu's trilogy of sci-fi novels—and yet is mostly true to the books.
James T. KeaneApril 19, 2024
“Only God Was Above Us” is a definitive “we’re back” statement from Vampire Weekend.
Michael O’BrienApril 19, 2024
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is the closest that the Coens have come to making a musical, and the film’s lush period folk soundtrack enriches its spiritual themes.
John DoughertyApril 19, 2024
The sun rises above an array of rooftop solar panels,
Pope Francis says that responses to climate change “have not been adequate.” This Earth Day, both clergy and laypeople must repent of our sins of omission and work toward decarbonization.
Daniel R. DiLeoApril 19, 2024