Angels at Rest


Through the bracken and the overgrowth they come,
huge iridescent sandaled feet,

hoisting each other up, then sprawling in the trees
like celestial tigers. They detect

aspirins crunched like ginger-nuts in nearby towns,
but stay put, tired of hovering

at bedsides (the wallpapers ever in bloom), tired
of collecting where cars collide,

preferring this, the graveyard’s mustard light, the gnats,
late summer turning over with the dead.

It doesn’t last, of course. A woman picks through grass,
bluebells wilting in her fist, finds a stone

and bends, begins to cry. The angels sigh,
sad for the smallness of the living,

the living, with their expansive novels and their bluebells,
their millions of ideas and manifestos,

their billion worries too (free falling aircraft, armies of irate
diseases) more real to them than flame –

lit trees. The angels beat their wings and contemplate
the gnats instead, specks

of almost nothing, massed like clouds, their un-seeing eyes,
their fathomless, microscopic hearts.

from Sunday at the Skin Launderette (Seren, 2008), copyright © Kathryn Simmonds 2008, used by permission of the author.

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