This hollow place with the tide-breeze sighing—
Can I believe that the goddess brought me here
and say that when young dawn stroked rosy fingers
over the damp cave walls I saw your markings
and wondered how they aligned with the stars?
I unwrapped this tissue-linen and found nothing
but small bones, bird-fine and hollow, dyed shells
that I rinsed in tide-pool water and gazed at, wondering.
Can I believe that if the goddess brought me here
it was to interpret your breathings, the soft sigh echoed
by tide-breeze that vents this star-gazing cave?
Can I believe you once lived here at all?
Because I find only tissue-thin bones, salt-streaked
shells and they don’t align with your markings.
I wait under empty skies, dry-eyed and wondering.
When young dawn with her rosy fingers strokes
these open hands I will, with what care I can,
arrange these dyed shells, your bird-hollow bones
into a cairn below your markings. If I can believe
the goddess will bless the shrine, I will take this life-
breath and follow fading starlight onto the open sea
With apologies and gratitude to Jenifer Cartland at Poems from in between for this inspiration.