The Hastily Assembled Angel at the Gate
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
Copyright © 2018 by Shane McCrae
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
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 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.
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