Today's poem is by Betsy Sholl

Angel of Dissent

The young man's story was set on a cliff
  with many sheer angles of descent
    fourteen pages of single-spaced onion-skin
     smudged with angles of darkness, one clever
  angle of vengeance, brooding, fierce-eyed,
    with no punctuation—which the class
     discussed as given, the text as written.

But under his clamped lid the kid boiled:
  Were we mocking him? Before I could think,
    "two lines diverging—that's the plot," before
     I could say, "typos are your friend," he grabbed
  his coat and slammed out—so hard glass flew,
    grazing the student who'd leaned forward in her seat
     as if looking for an angle that might

open the view. Through the window's narrow slant
  he peeled out, gunned around a car slowing to turn.
    Burnt rubber, skid marks. Angle of rotten impulse
     and raw luck no one was coming the other way.
  Obtuse, instincts off, reading that story the night before,
    I left the stove on under an empty skillet,
     so its acrid scent angled up the stairs,

iron pan melting into a tale of vengeance,
  with enough steep drops to obliterate everyone
    a young man wants to blame for his hurts—
     as if he had strapped on wings the wrong size
  intending to fly, but they dragged him down
    through fissures of unforgiveness. Iron wings.
     Deep snow of an un-examined life.

Some mistakes you replay like old movies
  run in reverse to turn a fall into flight,
    or melt glass back into its innocent pane.
     I could have asked about evening light
  on that mountain, the rosy swaths cutting
    through trees, their limbs bristling on all sides—
     like what? Like angels? Still green, untried.

Copyright © 2005 Betsy Sholl All rights reserved
from Crying Sky
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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