1,021 Readings



Then he was here.

Curtains slashed, a sound like hair
on fire. Telling me about

a sword to pierce my heart.
But I was distracted by the rain

from the open window

collecting an aqueduct between the scutes
of his abdomen and over his shoulders,

that place where skin
sprouts wings. Let alone not believing


that what I most feared

was a lit Jerusalem, a place where
temptation wears tattoos,

a heaven for those without one.
Calling out to that thing

hammocked between thighs, he entered

my dreams, this red-bearded messenger,
to the field where I’m forever

returning. Always the expected
surprise of him, his hands opened

like offerings, as if decision
had anything to do with this. Let it be,


I said, I am your handmaiden now.

On the footbeaten path between
cornstalks, bent on a coyote wail,

these visitations went on for months,

his wings corralling about our bodies
as he annunciated

over clay roofs, maize bodices,
my mouth full of pollen.

After he fondled me female,
he left me


salted, awakened, my fingers
trailing the bedroom floor. How my chest

hurt then, this heart-thrum
that sickens me, this

my favorite seizure.

In my dream about a man,
I dreamed about his cloth swath,

his angel swag, the wake his wings
left in snow.

Gabriel, you dreadful bird,


what choice did I have?
Always speaking for the one

to come after, leaving me
with a clutch of feathers.

Take back the rain

puddling on your shoulders,
your slow pronunciation. Do not tell me

I am favored by God.
Posted 09/27/11
Previously published in RHINO, 2011.
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