rise out of coarser selves, angels of bone
They know all fragilities
of matter, how broken things pray softest, and when God opens
such cold and perfect hands,
it is they who answer light
I go back to January, back to the farmhouse
with its soft golden eyes, the dog
fallen fence posts gloved in snow.
is where a woman gets buried late at night,
over and over, under the blindness
of stars, wind clapping in the ears. There are lanterns,
picks and shovels, the crush of heavy shoes.
They come slowly, carrying her body
which sings from the far edge
of a deep pasture.
I love the ones who do this to her.
It is right; and all around her a reaching, the wilderness leaning
toward tires and garden tools,
clothespins dangling like hagsteeth. The moon, approaching descent,
spills its cold milk on the backs
of the laborers.
They are afraid of her pallidity
against their darkness, afraid because what grows in them
trembles like the edge of a great wing. I name her “angel”
Beyond the fenceline, a thin sheet of snow
rises like a bride’s veil. This is home, such grief and unfolding.
-from Cold Angel of Mercy