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Maureen Clark

Handmade Paper


drops of ink     in water

spread and disappear         like footprints

on the beaches          of the world

the doors of perception        are open

just enough    to fan our hope

of an afterlife             where our dead


are reborn      into light          where our dead

walk ahead of us     towards the water

where remembering waits             and then we hope

holding our invitation          printed

on handmade paper                     to open

to the possibility of that other world


because we must     in the emptiness of this world

without the one we love       we must imagine death

as a veil or a door    that will absolutely open

absolutely lead to heaven             where waterfalls

of knowledge            will pour down         explaining the losses printed

on our bones   and it must be so    hope


itself demands it        the word        invented for this purpose    to hope

for eternity      don’t you see                      the world

in all its ugliness        holds this one seed            printed

in some deep river of the heart        that a place after death

exists              for we invented it       don’t you see             the waters

existed before us      and will mourn our passing               open


your eyes every morning                wait for perception to open

the gate          oh god                     please keep this promise    that hope

is what we dream it to be    if not we become pillars of salt       melting in water

the four horsemen already here              leading the world

to permanent destruction             where our deaths

are final and mean nothing                     where our footprints


vanish             to nuclear shadows    printed on walls 

salt dissolving into water                  please say that hope opens the emptiness

and this world of ours            is the garden of life we were promised


you asked what happens

after we die

I used to have 

an air-tight answer

for that

but the longer I live

the less I know about 

anything        really

after her father died

a grasshopper

insisted on placing himself

in the driveway

where she would be sure 

to see him   

he was there every day

wouldn’t hop away

until he’d caught her eye

after her mother died

one honey-bee 

loitered in the house

the hive was empty

a mortuary bee

cleaning up perhaps

after my friend died

his family found

lady bugs      everywhere

not just the garden 

but drawn in 

the margins of books


at the end of letters

no one’s read in years

and it’s like that with life

we see signs 

of an afterlife

when we need to 

Jeffrey Alfier Matin_Bleu.jpeg
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