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c. 1960 1. Homestead Cemetery Pale, sentinel, their stone wings Open behind them, they stood about As though the afterlife meant To impress itself upon us More forcefully than the graves Could by themselves, angels The companions like in the garden, Silent granite witnesses Terraced among the darkness Of the pines, their rain-stained faces Miming sorrow, gowned bodies Now grounded in time. 2. The Argument Concerning Faith A bronze archangel and the dragon He’d pinned underfoot, writhing On top of their tombstone, Michael another Lancelot, wielding His sword like in the movies. That fight always delighted us, Days we romped among the graves. To be buried beneath a scene Straight out of Revelation— Talk about Coming Attractions! The faith they’d cast in metal We recast as make-believe. 3. Hierophantic Nine Choirs of Angels. A number That matched the planets. Spirits and fiery messengers. Heavenly hosts. The garden-variety Cherubim. And everywhere, Apparently, though no one Could see them, the Guardian Charged with bearing us up. Powers, Dominions, Seraphim . . . We always wondered which Were which, columned above us In their cold stone robes.
Copyright 2020 Robert Gibb
Robert Gibb was born in the steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The Origins of Evening, which was a National Poetry Series winner. He has received numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts grants, seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, a Best American Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and The Ernest Sandeen Prize for Among Ruins (Notre Dame, 2017). He lives on New Homestead Hill above the Monongahela River.