That’s my father pecking
on the bedroom window.
He’s a bird and he’s trying
to give me a message.

I’m glad to know someone else
can hear him out there.

But I don’t believe it.


That’s my father on the sidelines
at the basketball game.
He’s the head of officials
for high school sports.

I’m glad to know his penchant
for yelling at the television
has given him a new career.

But I don’t believe it.


That’s my father sitting
with some woman I don’t know.
I’ll pretend she’s his long-lost sister
who got a DNA test for Christmas.

I’m glad to know there’s hope
for those who aren’t sure
where they came from.

But I don’t believe it.


That’s my father shuffling
through the hospital corridors.
He’s more upright and taut.
I bet he’s breathing on his own.

I’m glad to know he didn’t
give up that easily after all.

But I don’t believe it.


Mirage comes from the French word
with the same spelling.
It means to be reflected.

It’s roots are likely Latin:
(1) mirare, related to mirror.
(2) mirus, related to miracle.

But I wish for a connection
with mi’raj, an Arabic word.
That means ladder or stairs
or to climb or to ascend.

There’s travel involved
no matter the meaning,
but there’s also a moment
of reflection and pondering.

There’s a hope that what I see
might really be there.
There’s a quick breath where
I can convince myself
that anything is possible.

This I can believe.


Christopher Stolle’s writing has appeared most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Edify Fiction, Contour, The New Southern Fugitives, The Gambler, Gravel, The Light Ekphrastic, Sheepshead Review, and Plath Poetry Project. He works as an acquisitions and development editor for Penguin Random House. He lives in Richmond, Indiana.