He might wonder all his life
whether his decisions were betrayals,
whether he found love out of fear,
what prompted him to stay,
what wished in him to leave.

Or how the ghost of a breath on the glass
is for the faithful a sign,
and what each sees is his own Christ,
his own Mary, Mother of God, in the glass.

And many years after,
his children crouch low, as to a shrine.

So he might wonder
and saddle up his own part-starved steed,
pastured and bruised in a kiln-dried country

where he rides, tacking to trails cut above the sea.
O what a lovely seaside view!
Desire like a mule’s wish, declining its absolute.

This appeared in the December 2014 issue.

Darren Bifford is the author of Wedding In Fire Country and Hermit Crab.

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