A canal in Venice, perhaps,
with stucco walls, gondolas,
flowers hanging
from scrolled iron, or round maps
of the heavens, stars spilling
in an S-shape connecting hemispheres.
Or Rouen towers
changing colors at evening.

There on the card table is a prayer
worth many spiritual hours
of concentration and care
like fitting words together toward
some absolution, some apology.

This is not the end-all, the defining
moment, but when the pieces
are taken apart, thrown
like fish back into the box
to swim again on their own:
a lesson of letting go.


Frederick Wilbur’s poetry collections are As Pus Floats the Splinter Out and Conjugation of Perhaps. His work has appeared in The Comstock Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, New Verse News, One Art: a journal of poetry, Shenandoah. He is co-editor of poetry for Streetlight Magazine.