It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.  ~Daniel 2:22

My father shoots his photos in the dark.
The moon, his flashbulb, tacked
to a backdrop of sky.  His camera lens:
a telescope to penetrate these onyx hours.

Later, Dad brings his findings home;
like a poet, he exposes the ink sea.
Slowly, he lifts layers of darkness
from the snapshot’s surface
until the shadows emerge in color,
until he discovers a purple blur
beneath all that night:
a lone iris lost in the reeds.

Near dawn, my father pulls this flower
from the shadows and names it Fragile Beauty.
And I think that about sums it up—
this once-hidden bloom, now here
in sharp focus—one bright yellow tongue,
one violet throat translating hope.

I ponder my father’s process—
how it would be easier to capture
images by day, but there is something
to his deliberate unveiling, his patient uncovering,
(with eyes drenched in wonder)
that reveals his real nature.

My father unfolds
each of his children this way:
through such gentle illumination,
such quiet searching.  It is a good thing
Dad’s pupils are coal-black, his irises, sepia:

to filter the light
of his blinding kindness.

MY IRISES by Carla Belniak. Always remembered for her significant contribution to the world of art – an inspiration to artists everywhere.
May 19, 1945 - July 31, 2013

To view more of Carla's work, visit


Sullivan’s work has appeared in Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature; Balancing the Tides: A Newport Journal; The Writers’ Circle’s 2008 & 2010 Anthologies; Newport Round Table’s Walls and Bridges Anthology; The Providence Journal; Newport Life Magazine; The Newport Daily News and She Shines Magazine. Her essay Compassion aired on Rhode Island’s National Public Radio’s This I Believe series, and she has recorded her poetry for Insight Radio for the visually impaired.


A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds
 ~ Archibald MacLeish

The under-lit belly of a lone gull,
wings flat against vast blue sky,
makes me forget that I am
still trying to wake up,
because the color—that

unearthly pink—
is the exact hue
of my daughter’s lips
when she was born, and

at once my body’s gone.
I am the tingling air
in this sanctuary

beyond translation.

How am I to capture
such presence with my pen?


Let these words disappear


until the poem just




Butterfly blooms                                             
from a home once called cocoon:                      
mere shell attached to branch             
and nothing else.                                            
The hushed grey sky                           
exhales, as sunglow will soon             
unravel golden spools                         
across dark lawns.      

Her wings unfurl—                                         
petals free from sheath of bud—        
and now first flutters greet                 
horizon’s blush.                                   

Thumbprint moon, still                                  
visible on blue, lingers                        
like a dream’s topazflash
through quiet rooms.
She flaps once, twice:                         
this new form awaiting flight              
‘til she alights upon                            
the brink of dawn—
   Blink and she’s gone.