There is nothing I wouldn’t do for a piece of living light
but they say the violets fly from the soil before she dies
and the grass has been bare for days now.
The deacon says that everything is fine.
I only saw her twice.
The youngest of ten, she had visions in her veins,
rose higher than her fellow Holy Roman hens.
Treading carefully, she saw a cloister in the shifting clouds
and heard the music of the monastery.
She went to shrift the needle and the hay on All Saints Day.
When I visited her face was solid gold, vested by God,
and the ten strings of her psaltery sparkled in the cold.
Our simple town shined with the living light;
our harvests were beyond belief, fires shined bright unnaturally
and the Sibyl shrived our souls, made us complete.
It was all calm one morning until the maiden did not come to recite her psalms.
She could not be found. The echoing sound of her vital voice had gone out.
The priest swore she had gone on pilgrimage but our crops were putrid and dying.
The entire town lost its rhythm and rhyme but in the freezing brine
of the river I saw, for a moment, her reflection. I shivered, a mix of fever and fear,
but as I leered longer I saw she was smiling and the living light was shining.