skip to Main Content


The moon is rising above the spine of the mountains where I live. It is clear and cold tonight, the sky vaulted cobalt, pinned with attendant stars, only hours before she flushes to fullness with an accompanying eclipse. I hope the light of this full moon and her witchy knowing clear the path before you, so that the only map you need is the one within your wild heart.


Ravens in the guardian trees this morning,
one red-tailed hawk among them.
Their ruckus woke me,
the way they rounded to protect
what they love.
Hawk is only messenger.
It is the message, sometimes,
that has the feel of the threat.
Late November morning,
rust colored wing tips full of refracted light.

After days of moving,
crates, boxes, bins,
the trappings of this briefest of lives,
my knuckles are cracked and bleeding,
my fingerprints rubbed raw.
My hands look like those of a bare-fisted prizefighter.
My father, who was a boxer,
would have had something to say about this,
making me laugh,
so that we would have laughed together.

Tassels on the end points of the prayer cloth,
the braided edges that border the altar scarf,
the double-stitch hems of the casket covers.
All unraveled, un-mendable,
except perhaps in my mother’s priestess hands,
her head bent to forgiveness.

I dreamt of seven angels:
One a warrior,
one a sentinel,
one a healer,
one a conjurer
one a fury,
one a grace.
And the last one:
Herald of them all.

The moon is fierce within me.
I do not recognize myself with her pulse,
this eerie glow and knowing arc.
I want to tell you to not look in my eyes.
She pulled me downriver,
feet first on that cold, quick, clear current,
my body floating fluid and surrendered
until I banked the left shore.
There was a wolf waiting for me,
beneath this flushing light.
She made a path. I followed.

Would the scissor snip of candle wick
swing a doorway open?
I lit them all, the candles
on the altar beneath the north window,
the mountain immoveable through the panes.
I could click my heels together,
imagine love the speaker of alchemy and prayer,
until you appear beneath the porch light.
You as brother to tinman and lion
and me as the girl with adventure in her heart.

We are more as dark-winged angels than fairytale,
traversing lay lines and atmospheres.
I saw regal purple behind my eyes,
heard someone calling my name,
the one I’d earned before I came here.
Funnel rush, feather and fire,
the thinning air,
my hair like a veil all around me.
I lifted so easily,
my hands fell empty
and forgotten
at my sides.

© 2010/2020 Dora E. McQuaid
All rights reserved.
My thanks to KBB for the photo.


Back To Top