Tag Archives: angel

The angel reconsiders

angel face flame

The angel reconsiders

The flame over its head twists and flickers.
A cowlick of wonder. Through the sinew

of transparent wings flows the blood of creation.
It lifts and sets down, interlocks fates, initiates

patterns we feel in our hearts when things die
and when things are born. It has been feeding.

It looks to the lower middle left, that place we look
when we are thinking about the truth.

It would be a good year to start from scratch,
the angel thinks. Its round face,

blue like a baby’s eye, blinks. Nothingness
begins to melt into a terrible form

of a hand and dark thoughts. Then
the angel reconsiders. Its wings spread

high, high, higher, into a sacred shrug.
The hand is left alone, reaching for its maker.

angel detail

November hymnal (28) / A Memorable Fancy (for Wm. Blake and A.R. Ammons)

November hymnal (28) / A Memorable Fancy (for Wm. Blake and A.R. Ammons)

As I was walking with the rain along the gutter
Nudging sodden leaves over to clear a way

Or arranging wind-sticks parallel to the stream
To frame water’s efficiency, I heard a thump and saw

November’s angel crouching on the curb.
I ignored him, flicking an oak leaf on its back

To watch it skry the secrets of the surface picking
Up speed but kept him in the corner of my eye

Like you do a wasp off the end of summer’s porch.
His wings were sewn of fallen black walnut twigs

His eyes empty walnut husks his oily tears black
His muddy shield a yard sign for the side that lost

Election, limbs swelling of green willow torn tender by a storm
And twined useless for winter burning. Look I said without looking

Myself at him how the fallen is transfigured into
This slender stream of mourning how every failed

Flight gives it sinew and speed. The angel had a word
But could not with a tongue of apple core spit it out

And I did not want a word with him: still I figured he meant
Well enough though a few of his feet washed away

In the strengthening rain river and I kept to the far side
Of the runoff thinking even God could not cross live water

Without a boat or an invitation or swim lessons at the Y
First: turkey vultures of which there are many in this valley

Won’t eat a living thing and my faith shambling beside me
One wing cocked like a wound’s stitches on the sky still

Had at least a threat or curse left in him but the Black
Vulture will pick at what’s weak and having seen if it puts

Up a fight or bares its belly dig in before the blessing:
The water was a streetside torrent the width of a car tire

And there came a flapping I felt more than heard
And twigs like tiny logs coursed by me in the stream

And the month clicked its beak and pieces of black
Husk I watched slide downstream toward December.

Angel

Angel

 

Are the faithful the only ones who can recognize
what they have never seen or is this spilt milk

in my sink what it seems—a ragged host
reaching out to me as if it’s not too late

but for which of us    her shape
will not hold but who knows the shape

of the abyss—it’s white like old eyes
failing and in reaching out it diminishes

shredding from the edges
towards the center which come

to find out can hold quite a lot