“A Dream after the Death of Bill Armstrong” by Jane Beal

I dreamed I entered
the office of a dead man.
He was alive and sitting behind his desk.
I sat down across from him,
facing a shuttered window.

I could see through the blinds.

We heard a knock and thought
it might be someone at the door,
but the knock was on the next door:
I saw that screen-door open,
and the invisible one slip into the other room.

We still had Time.

He was talking, and I was listening
when I got up to adjust a light in a tall lamp
on the other side of the room:
it had a tiny bulb, and the light was flickering out,
and I couldn’t make it brighter by turning the switch twice.

He asked me to pray for him.

So I began, “Dear Lord,” but he said,
“No, not dear Lord,” so I began to sing:
I love thee, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
close by me forever and love me I pray,
bless all the dear children in thy tender care –

and bring us to heaven to live with thee there.

Now he was naked as the day he was born,
kneeling in child’s pose on a sloping staircase
that connected the floor to the bed,
for the desk had become a bed –
I looked out the windows again.

The blinds were open.

A huge stork, three times the normal size,
was perched on the telephone wires outside:
with a long, curved beak and coal-black wings,
a Star-bright, white breast, and a twin: a strange angel
that emerged to stand beside him.

I saw a miracle.

Those birds opened their wings and lifted into the air,
and they turned toward my right, toward the West,
where the ocean was rolling onto the sand,
and three black foals were running through the foam,
and the silhouette of a little girl

was chasing after them all with an ax.

Jane Beal
Uncaged (in progress)

Comment:  To read more about the extraordinary life of Bill Armstrong, see:
http://www.ccu.edu/billarmstrong/obituary/.

 

 

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