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White Magic

for Fr. Robert


A priestess’s offering: uplifted hands
scaring to heaven, home —
in a great net that, cast aloft, expands —
the doves, the dumb

albino avians of whitewashed ways’
Medieval honeycomb;
of courts and alleys, sunlight, lemons — maze
of mystic Rome.


The white bat, stern, in his winged vestments, spreads
his hands at holy Mass
above the bowing faithful’s heads —
A spectral cross;

white cobra, hooded, swaying at his prayer,
deadly, tight-lipped;
the wand made supple under Pharaoh’s stare
in gold Egypt.


Circle of stones, the altar gleaming white;
a prophets’ contest called;
Druidic priests meet Patrick in the night
in Ireland of old.

A constellation cast on magic ground
The eyes of wizards glare.
Unseen across the night, a comet’s bound:
White deer, white hare.


by Monica Cooper

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