Today's poem is by Angie Estes

Dark Spots

In the late nineteenth century, some photographers

claimed not only to capture images
of loved ones from beyond

the grave but to be able to photograph memories

of the deceased, their auras still glowing
around the bereaved,

as if to capture light reflected off a body could preserve

that body over time, as Beatrice explains
the presence of the dark

spots on the moon to Dante in Paradiso: how

the brightness of a celestial body
reveals the angelic

gladness that quickens the body, letizia that shines as joy

shines through an eye. Visit Fort
Courage—Take Pictures

of the Past, the billboards across Arizona advised,

and at the base of the mountain in
New Mexico, a note taped

to the gasoline pump read, Hold tight to your money—the wind

will carry it away. In the snapshot of
my grandmother in her

casket, wearing the Elizabethan collar and permed

curls she never wore, my mother
gazes through her

to a planet she always knew existed but which, without

the darkness, she could never see
before. They call

some bruises shiners like the violet stars of the Rose of Sharon

that come out in the morning and shine
all day in their leaf-black

shade, shade carved into the yard like fish scales covering

the sarcophagus in Sant’Apollinare in
Classe near Ravenna

or the stiff, veined hands of the sycamore stretched wide

in applause, the Italian gesture
of mourning.

Copyright © 2013 Angie Estes All rights reserved
from Enchantée
Oberlin College Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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