by Frances Klein


The angels are hungry.

They roost at the kitchen table—

haloed by streetlights—

eating ham sandwiches

made with leftover ham, hold the mustard.


Their wings are ragged.   Mud and leaves

ornament the lice-matted feathers.

They try to keep them tucked

off the floor, muttering mea culpas

around mouthfuls of bread.


You make up the guest room,

the trundle-bed, the couch.

Each pulls on the old nightclothes

that belonged to your husband,

shirts backward, unbuttoned.


Late morning the angels awaken.

They flock around the coffee pot,

rustling and jostling.

One drops your Class of ‘78 mug

and looks like he may cry when it cracks.


You pat his muscled arm in consolation

and give him another.


After breakfast they take turns with chores.

They rinse dishes, hang the wash,

gape at the revelation that is the vacuum.

One takes a rake and robin-hops

around the yard.


The smallest gives you a rough hug as they leave,

the older two bickering in low-gravel voices.

Come back any time, you say,

and the angels, hungry and humbled

and somehow lost, shake their heads.



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