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Then


ISSUE:  Spring 1993

Each of us had an angel. I say that now
without doubt. What does one say
to an angel, I thought, I who
never had a thought, going home
the street suddenly unreal
with both of us walking. Ahead, the bigger boys
hurled stones and shouted. Their angels—
how to imagine their beauty
unless it be anger. Embarrassing, this secret,
belief like a boat, like an odd translation
of what one thought
an ordinary word. By Mr. Glimm’s crabapple,
I made them out, three
wary creatures standing at an angle,
idly lifting off the small fruits.
I dare not speak. I dare not.
Easier to imagine old men into infants,
sand back into stone. I walked past
the Ingolia’s house, Mickey out there
with his big front teeth, a nervous glaring boy—
a suicide, but that was later—kicking grass
down to dirt, into dirty clouds.
Already, late summer. On the roof, his angel
draped himself over the gable, not really a gable,
the roof rising up only a little.

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