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

A building burns after being bombed
The pope’s refusal to cheer either side in this war gives him credibility as mediator.
A Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, by Terrance Klein
Terrance KleinMay 31, 2023
A Reflection for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Kerry Weber
Kerry WeberMay 31, 2023
pope francis speaks from his chair at the general audience, he gestures with his hand and smiles as he talks
In his general audience, Pope Francis discusses the apostolic zeal of Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit who successfully taught and spread the Gospel in China in the 1500s.
Pope FrancisMay 31, 2023