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?