Learning the Angels Poem

Learning the Angels Poem By Rennie McQuilkin

Waiting up, he’s deep in Angels & Archangels:
lion-bodied Cherubim, Principalities,
six-winged, translucent as cathedral windows,
heavily armored Archangels, and the usual
angels for the dirty work, recording, handdelivering, and as he now learns, placing a finger
on the lips of every newborn, leaving the cleft
imposing silence concerning clouds of glory.
Now she breezes in, douses the light, wants
to cuddle, undoes, runs a finger along the cleft
that gives the tip of his sex its face of a heart.
It’s devil’s work, he knows.
At dawn he’s in the dew-damp garden, picking
strawberries for her,
turning the leaves pale-side-up to uncover
the heart-shaped fruit,
and finds the garden snake,
a hog-nose, head up, neck flared and glistening.
Oh you above, from the simplest two-wingers
to complicated wheels of fire, be vigilant,
he thinks, and returns
full of Powers and Dominions. She yawns,
half-rises on her divan, plumps a pillow,
pours cream on the berries. Its blush
deepens. He finds himself
sliding a hand beneath her robe,
along the nape, the shoulders, the spine,
the small, that valley lightly downed—
which leads to what comes over him,
her shoulder blades working the air, her finger
on his lips.

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