The Hastily Assembled Angel at the Gate

Shane McCrae

The hastily assembled angel sitsBehind the gate and doesn’t watch the gateHe watches     the expressions on the fac-es of the archers posted on the gateBut only one     archer and only whenHe glances     at the archer next to himNervously the young     archer turns his headTo glance at the older archer middle-agedWho only looks ahead the     hastilyAssembled angel wonders who it wasWho said In the midst of life we are in deathHe has heard many songs and that was oneAlthough he has heard none of those songs sungOnly recited     quickly as he wasShoved off the cloud     more quickly than a humanMind could comprehend recited asTen thousand other things were shouted     all atOnce by ten thousand other angels allOf whom heard music he will never hearHe hears a     scream and he is back at the gateBehind the gate and     what had he been doingHe wonders     as he sees a young man fallingHe stands and folds his folding metal chair

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Shane McCrae’s most recent books are The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, fall 2018), and In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

Michigan Quarterly Review

Spring 2018

Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan

Khaled Mattawa

Poetry Editor
Katie Willingham

Managing Editor
H.R. Webster

Michigan Quarterly Review is an eclectic interdisciplinary journal of arts and culture that seeks to combine the best of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction with outstanding critical essays on literary, cultural, social, and political matters. The flagship journal of the University of Michigan, MQR draws on lively minds here and elsewhere, seeking to present accessible work of all varieties for sophisticated readers from within and without the academy.

In addition to choice creative work, we publish special issues dedicated to timely themes, such as Vietnam: Beyond the Frame and Bookishness: The New Fate of Reading in the Digital Age, and special clusters of essays on individual topics, like Motown, Politics and Detroit, or the Age of Obama. MQR has published work by Margaret Atwood, Juan Cole, Robert Coles, Carol Gilligan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alan Liu, Barry Lopez, Czeslaw Milosz, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Rorty, Eric J. Sundquist, John Updike, William Julius Wilson, and other authorities in their fields.

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