Today's poem is by George David Clark

Heimlich for a Heavenly Windpipe

Like ice-cold cola in its transit through a plastic straw
sometimes a pleasure enters him, and after a smooth
drafting down the spine, issues from his leg,
the crippled one he drags behind him,
the one sunk to its ankle in an angel's mouth.
Spaghetti negro at the beach café in Positano,
for instance, with the bougainvillea tinting the breeze
purple in the avenues that scale the hill.
Or that refrain of Roethke's and Samantha quoting it
to mean she'd like to rest a little longer on the chaise
in her bikini. Fall in the Blue Ridge, Technicolor fall.

Occasionally though, the angel chokes on something.
Standing on the porch at the propane grill
with whisky in his coke and skirt steaks cooking,
the man hears a motorcycle fire up in the alley,
knows it wakes the baby and the vegetables inside
will be delayed. This, the first warm night
in April. Small and larger hardships marble it
with fat, gristle. And now the angel gags.
If the man's annoyed by what's become a ritual—
the holy face plum-colored, sputtering—
still eventually he stoops and lifts the creature up:
difficult because its wings are huge
and clenched in spasms. When at last they part,
he stands between them, joins his hands,
and jerks back hard under the supple ribcage
till the clot's dislodged. Dry coughs, then furious
breathing. Milky feathers scattered on the porch
and in his cola. And the angel already kneeling,
unhinging its jaw for more.

Copyright © 2015 George David Clark All rights reserved
from Reveille
saturnalia books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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