Jeanne Murray Walker (bio)

The angel speeding down the runway pulls up
her wing flaps, and, wouldn’t you know it, wobbles,
then dribbles to a stop. She stands on the windy
tarmac, embarrassed, brushing her blond hair
from her eyes, trying to remember how to elevate
herself, wishing she’d worn jeans instead of
the girly skirt that looks good when she’s flying.
It’s gravity’s old malice, showing up in the strangest
places, now at the corner, where the fortune cookie truck
forgets how to turn, tipping gracefully, sliding on
its side as cookies spill into the summer night.
Then mercy stalls in every precinct of the city

and we’re just bodies, only protoplasm for a wasp
to sting. Even love is a sad mechanical business then,
and prayer an accumulation of words I would kill
to believe in. There’s no happy end to a poem
that lacks faith, no way to get out. I could go on,
mentioning that doubt, no doubt, is a testing. But
meanwhile the bedraggled angel glances towards
the higher power, wondering how much help she’ll get,
not a manual, for sure, but a pause in entropy perhaps,
until she can get her wings scissoring. Call it cooperation
that helps a fledgling rise to build, sustain itself, and
lift her past the tree line. And then she knows she won’t
fall, oh holy night, can’t fall. Anything but.



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