Friday, June 10, 2016

What Wings Sound Like

Fra Angelico: The Annunciation
Florence, Italy

I have always wondered whether Mary heard Gabriel's wings when he landed in the courtyard and what sort of sound they made. Was it a rustle belying sinew and skin pulled tight over cartilage and bone until he landed, a skid and thud? Blue-bled at the tips, fading inward. She drew back, then, afraid. Or did they whisper like the drapes pulled out of marble by some sculptor insistent on revelation?  She leaned forward, then, resigned.

The hedge outside my bedroom is full of nests. I have never noticed just how many birds live among us. I am drawn to the nubs that emerge from human backs, wings not yet pointed with only a suggestion of flight.


  1. How dare you make me cry this early in the morning. Delicious tears. Your words are sacred sometimes, E. Their beauty, delicious.

  2. This is so utterly beautiful. The story of the annunciation always mystifies me. So many theories can be created from it. Was the angel a story Mary told because she had a lover, more her age than the old man she was promised to, Joseph? Was it true, that story, because he was an angel to her, that boy? Did her heart yearn for him forever and is that why she loved Jesus best, because he was the son of that lover? Did she worship those angel bones on his beautiful, young back? Did he charm the birds out of the trees and nests? Did you think, when you wrote this that I would have so many questions to ask you, based on your winged-words?

  3. Elizabeth, another exquisite poem. I love this.

  4. I love this line...I am drawn to the nubs that emerge from human backs, wings not yet pointed with only a suggestion of flight. I had never contemplated that before. Now I will be looking at backs with a different view.

  5. the conflicting emotions of motherhood.

  6. Oh dear God Elizabeth again this just gave me all over shivers. Such careful parsing of human experience and miracle. Thank you for writing it and allowing me to find it just at the exact true and right moment I needed to find it. This brought me to tears just now and the first time I read it. Did I ever tell you that I have large wings tattooed on my back?



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