Saint Ursula Advises Emily Dickinson

“Harpies” by Rollin Jewett

Speech closed-door softened,
key perched on the bone-white bed,

the emissary fragrance of lilacs
and roses, jasmine and heliotrope,

the offering that suggests your presence:
such stratagems to arrange the floating

leisure-labor hours spent alone,
your calling card absence.

Consider, though, how I became
unseen and free: cast all your dear ones

over the water, chart them a course
to strange shores, where tongues shape

sounds like green kindling spitting on a fire.
Feel their eyes pierce you transparent

until there is no one left to watch you
become invisible.

By Carolyn Oliver