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The Visit

The Sidhe have visited

my room again, moved the pieces

of furniture, left footprints

all along my floor and walls.

Petals from a strange and sudden

flower still float on the water

in my sink of dirty dishes.

It is morning and I

press my face against the air

trying to see in. The room is quiet.

My great-grandmother was small

and dark and nobody knows

where she came from. Learn

from me, she says in her night voice

the web of moon

cast upon the earth. Feel it

trembling in your fingers

like a fisherwoman's net, and pull

the silver fish upon the shore.

They are heavy, but they are all

yours, every one of them speaking

an undiscovered language.

There is singing, the Sidhe said

brushing their lips against my ears

It is all

around. There is a symphony

of wild sound beneath the surface.

Unmeasured and chaotic, the river

is always longer and wider than

you thought, and the bridge

is never where you expect it to be.

The Sidhe have come and gone

They have rearranged the night

taken off my skin

and folded the difference

into my bones.

My great grandmother lays the fish

upon the sand

the ones with torn bellies and gaping mouths

the ones with knowing eyes

the ones already turning into flowers

She moves her tongue

behind her teeth, and names them

one by one.

It is morning, and I am full

of forgetting. I drain the water

from the sink and begin to wash

the dishes. A single petal clings

to white porcelain. I leave it.

The rushing water sings. And I

in my waking slumber hum

the dim memory of an aching

distant music.

The ocean breaks.

My great grandmother with her muscled arms

pulls, and hauls the net upon the shore.

Silver scales still luminous in dark waters.

Learn to cast the web of moon upon the sea.

And bring the fishes home, she says.

They are all yours.

---Lisa Gale Garrigues

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