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Patrick Errington





How to Cultivate Angels                            





Thoughts turn over in the dark covers

of my mouth. I can’t help feeling the loss. Guilt

is cultivated as bruises tend their deeper colours.

Night comes eagerly. I’ve been seeding

myself to words. Pain tends pain

to grow manageable.




The wind has picked clean the sky as a magpie

picks a bone. Earth flaunts its dowry.

Years consume. Consequence

becomes the harvest we take in each year, rolled

in the ribbed field. Threshed. Wind-winnowed. We eat

before it eats us.

The chaff hangs in our hair.




If there’s a methodology for abstracting

I never learned it. Angels

inhabit us on weekends and leave

when they’re good and ready. I find

their hair in the drain. If we’re patient

will they inherit us, winged

with hart-beetles, homeless houseflies?

And what will they come into?

Our bodies are hardly basilicas

of flesh, ziggurats of breath. We atrophy,

agonize, though my skin stays near

enough to my shape. Will they take over

our scars, those bars that hold me

in identity, hold you out? Will they,

as new tenants, take up my lease?

Pay my bills? Shoulder my consequences?

Accept all the little abstractions

I fault myself with?




Guilt is learned. I get better with age.

I still shelter in the briars of accident

but I’ve stopped eating the fruit. There are

nuthatches and voles and unfed seasons

that will need them all too soon. Weeks

pick apart their ancestries. Can’t you feel it?

I’ll find other lineations, submit to the quiet

of forgetting and watch the uncompromising

field, dismantled, fill again with snow.

Can’t you feel it in your hands?



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