An Altar For This Day

Today I want to make an altar

from the beauty of this day

and offer it to her–

the one without a mask,

the one whose eyes are peonies,

the one who opens hearts like wings.

On this altar she’ll discover the

sliver of a new-born moon,

a violin that dreams of Barcelona,

three tulips floating in a bowl of tears,

a curl of smoke, one candle,

but no flame, a book of hymns

to Aphrodite and two towers on a hill

at dusk, above the sea.

She’ll find a mask made from hours

splintered from the clock,

a mask behind a mask,

of amber-colored leaves,

a brow, transparent as the sky,

a throat of feathers painted blue,

a hidden, restless heart that

dreams of seas and winds.

Today I make an altar

from the beauty of this day

and give it to the flower-eyed one,

the one who needs no masks,

as if it were a nest of clouds

in which two red birds sing.

© 2004 J.M. Keating

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