Today's poem is by Jack Marshall

Angels II

Winter run-off babbling on
at the edge of an ocean vast enough to get lost it . . . .
You don't need to be in it

to get lost in it
's way of making many things return
major that were once

incidental: sea-fog wreathed
with sweet mown grass: sinewy heat opening
wide a fist in the solar plexus; wide-

eyed with awe
at the blade-eyed red-
tailed hawk and his deadly swift straight talk.

Under an oaken rain of acorns, the hunted
hear their quivering
meat, already tasting it,

as can the hunter, the way eating after hunger
brings all our senses
forth at once.

The safest creatures tremble
as we do, sensing something wild
about to invade their peace

and pleasure and ease
that will be ending.

With my own eyes I've seen
angels: animals
are angels. And go to their deaths

in terror, their rank meat shot
through with the high adrenalin rush. We eat
angels. And even the angels we don't eat

but prize their ivory and pelts,
bellow in deep-mined guttural panic—
front legs rearing, trunks lunging,

from the sudden sight
of one of their kind fallen at a waterhole.
Such wave-lengths of terror

trumpet through the emptiness
the sounds that death annuls,

and rebound in the silence after.

Copyright © 2002 Jack Marshall All rights reserved
from Gorgeous Chaos
Coffee House Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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