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Setting the Angel Free


ISSUE:  Summer 1987
A late November morning, full of weeds
and falling aspirations.
                   The world,
from our perspective, is foreshadowed;
we walk through fields of graying leaves.

The sky is iron-lidded. Dead tracery
lies everywhere:
           battered hulls about our feet,
veins, now dry as chalk and worn,
                    clinging
to their olden patterns, tapestry
of frosted glass whose point of view is shattered.

A luminous breath has etched the hedgerows.

Now a cardinal,
               a single spot of color,
breaks from the bushes, heading west,
but can only go so far.

                 Meanwhile,
the watery sun, a single, unmoving eye,
takes us all in:
               skeletons of the elms,
two muffled figures, a blotch of red.
In what particular context
will it place us?

        Only that of simple things.
Motion notwithstanding,
               and variations
on that theme, depth is clearly limited
by single-mindedness.

            The view of two
is prelude to the give-and-take
of bodies,
          which may ultimately lead
to love.

       And this is what we seem to need
to keep us hale, to help us see
from inside-out
             and upside-down
 perspectives.

          Assume, for instance,
that the elms in winter imitate the bears
and bring their slowed-down pulses underground
to blossom,
       in inverted,
            dream-like splendor,
in the warm, forgiving contours of the earth.

Then, conversely, as a heart may live
in undifferentiated darkness
for a spell,
           it may brave the light,
beat out from under cover and give
to the view of the rest of the world
a bit of color, which,
           like a kite in the wind,
in the leaden embrace of an autumn sky,
will tug at its moorings
              and shine.

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