Your kind friend sent a condolence card
and in the envelope a small white feather
which, she said, seemed to come from nowhere.
Angel's wings obviously, I wrote in my reply.
And for days after everywhere I went
I found small replicas, as if some tiny
feathered thing had scattered its moulting
on urban pavements, in shops and unlikely
bathrooms, as well as in gardens shocked
with loss. I fingered the delicate plumes
and hoped they were tokens from some
unlikely messenger, saying you were safely
wrapped in God's eiderdown – how reason is
undone by grief. Later, in answer
to my penned bewilderment a suggestion:
Death is like a going home.
I want to believe, but if that were so,
surely you'd like us to be there too
not left out here puzzling in the cold,
trying to fashion from nature's casual
droppings a scarecrow angel,
like children gluing tufts to lolly sticks,
who dream of trumpets announcing
a perpetual Christmas and forget
the frozen shepherds cowering
as they stare at the inexplicable
in the pitch black night.