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Today's poem is by Nin Andrews

That Cold Summer

At first the angel was perfectly wingless,
loitering in the meadow below our summer place,

gazing up at the sky. A kind of Christina without a home
behind her. Whenever she was hungry, she'd sneak into our house

and steal an apple or a peach from the walnut bowl.
Once she cracked a tooth on a porcelain grape

and bled a milky light, moaning softly
while the white stuff circled her forehead

like a pie plate. You didn't believe it, thinking
she was just another of your crazy imaginings,

not being one to listen much to your own eyes.
Back then you mistook angel blood for a halo.

Approaching her gingerly, you looked at her pale
eyes, afraid to speak, informing me just how airy she was,

like a piece of sky looking at herself. She watched
you like a deer caught in the light, staring

until you touched her shoulder, and she shuddered.
Colder than snow, she was. You said that's why

you invited her in to warm herself. She had a long wind
inside her that fanned the flames

a brilliant blue. Personally, I didn't care for her antics,
but you were enchanted. Had I ever laid eyes

on a thing like that, you'd ask. As if making gales
in my home were a miracle or something. Once I woke

to find here sleeping in the silence beside me, her legs
spread wide as a crooked smile, the white

mist leaking out in a stream. The icy draft
in our bed lasted for weeks. At first

I hardly noticed the feathers slipping into cracks
in the floor, the shopping bags and the soup I kept

simmering on the stove, feathers swimming like dust
in the window light, tiny white feathers with lives

of their own like those brine shrimp they sell
at drug stores to gullible children. Then the feathers

grew more plentiful and blew around the rooms.
I swept them out the door when they rose

and drifted like earthbound clouds. The angel was nowhere
to be seen, though her shadow spread, even grew to tower

over us. Those must have been huge wings sprouting
from her cold shoulders. For me, it couldn't have come

soon enough. Though the house, afterwards, was of a sudden
so familiar and empty, I often wondered how she flew.



Copyright © 2001 Silverfish Review Press for Nin Andrews All rights reserved
from Why They Grow Wings
Winner of the 1999 Gerald Cable Book Award
Silverfish Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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