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When I was a child and miserable
and love stopped at every house but mine
I’d go to sleep wishing for an angel,
that she’d emanate from the dark
and come to my bed. Sex then
was just a silhouette and all I wanted
was the warmth of her body
next to mine, the softness of her skin,
a voice that soothed and took away
self-hate. I’d been taught well:
a mother who loathed men,
who when she looked at me
saw my missing father’s face,
or specters from her girlhood that opened
their eyes in the sexual murk.
She told me she’d wanted a daughter
and got me instead. Girls are clean,
she said. I reasoned therefore
I was dirty, filthy, not worthy of love.
There were women later on
who taught me differently,
especially when in the bloom
of youth I made love to them well.
But that was not love. Love is now
when I invite the angel back.
She comes to me, older,
and so am I. She tells me about
her transit of the universe,
the suffering there, and love like
crocuses pushing up through late snow.
She is a friend now. There is so much
more of her, and me, the way we pull
experience behind us like a net.
One thing at a time we throw things away
so that when I die I’ll have no clutter,
nothing left I do not need. Each night,
she opens her wings over me and brings
the dark, arrayed with stars. Together
we dismantle myths and make
new constellations. There is so much
more to everything, that blinded,
I didn’t see. Prayer by prayer
I erase the past so I can see the past.
Those things between the things
I once thought important, gentle
and unassuming, pure in their being
and singing softly
beneath the noise we make of life.
Copyright 2018 Doug Anderson