Three Poems—LE Francis

Knight of pentacles / Flutter

Tally the seconds like butterflies
drifting through an open window,
& watch as their easy flutter carves

open infinity to leave the entrails
sprawled across this unremarkable
kitchen table. Pick through it

with the end of a crochet hook
& sigh as you realize eternity
has left you out; think it wouldn’t

take much to snap & drag a prince
screaming through the veil, now
that you’re a witness to the gouging

& shredding so easily done by other
beautiful things — you felt the tissue
of time flap in the solar wind & you knew —

as the sparks burned through other todays —
that the cosmos would never sink to admit
they were wrong. Think you can’t keep

living in this copy of a copy, compose
your half-soul manifesto from guts
& butterfly wings & dream you see

the green grass dead, dream you watch
the cliff shrug off the lighthouse & still
you wait & breathe & speak in affirmation,

strain to hear the galloping break for you
as you correct from “I hope” to “I have.”

The moon / Long-distance love song

You feel what’s coming echo through the bones
of your bones. You feel it, even when it doesn’t

come, the lack of presence sinking a soft rest
between the moans of the night-black sea. You feel

it as a language of howls & knocks, the waves as persuasive
as ghosts that live in drawing room cupboards, the whole

time screaming as if in witness of her becoming & in the end
only you hear. Only you feel the truth eons deep & study layers

of dirt & dark & rise as a flicker in the void, all your knowing
woven through this blue-lit landscape. Wail the sea calm

& let the echo pass through the bones of the bones of the earth.
It is she that holds your darling close, your waning eye fixed

on the changing tides of the love
you cannot touch.

Strength / A daughter’s spell

Afternoons in ochre & the shuffle of skirts
passing the rooms, watch light play over ceilings
& trick yourself into seeing the sky. Endure

your captive life & dream of the many ways
you could someday be saved: carried out
in the summer arms of a minor god, or

a philosopher, or a musician — you’d better waste
with your pining, until you’re as delicate as a lyre
tucked under an arm in afterthought, or become

as bright as a harpsichord, easy to destroy & fussy
over any accompanying notes, lift your quill
& empty your belly, let all your pining pour

onto the page & wait for the winter fires to stain
the ceiling-sky dark. Each night, you’ll offer a page
to the flames & thank Zosma for its taking, watch

the lines deepen & the shadows swell, painting a face
in plaster & soot as you sigh & pass under,
evenings in indigo & the shuffle of cards heard

from the next room, keep an armchair next to the fire
& tell yourself again how you will survive to see the spring.

LE Francis is a recovering arts journalist writing poetry & fiction of varying length from the rainshadow of the Washington Cascades. Find her online at

photo by Daniel Albany (via pixabay)