Annunciation of Francis
did not come to him on bended knee
clutching a stalk of lilies and a message from
dressed in a gown effulgent as fire.
came out of the darkness of earth
from the place where the poor creatures wait--
the claws that walk upon the pebbled ocean floor
four legged with their strong haunches
and tremulous upright ears
long tongues unrolled in devotion or fear
winged things who wanted their own sermon
ring doves and waterfowl
even the vultures who put aside their carcass
sit in a circle and feed on his preaching
silent as a gathering of saints.
The loops that circled their necks,
shackles laid across the canticle
of their bones, were rent loose by his words
till they too flew like souls.
he appeared to the brothers of the order
as he darkened in death, I was there,
signifier of the five wounds.
propped up the quill as he wrote: Welcome,
Sister Death, and then he lay down naked
on the earth, sprinkled over with ashes.
was my luminous hand that held out a goblet
to catch the thick venetian red
trickling like wine from his side.
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