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The angel perches on the church spire
and his wings shine silver
in the morning light. He is a man
who has been a boy all his life,
an eternity of watching others burn like
the mortals in Keats’s ode on the urn.
This angel leans down over
the bustling town, its citizens
hurrying forward, eyes gone oblivious,
glued to the ground. He seems ready
to take the plunge, exchange his perfect
stance for a more ordinary and sweaty dance.
He doesn’t want to miss that same
fevered kiss the shepherd and his nymph
were deprived of. Though humans
have forgotten how longing lets them
continue, he still knows it’s true.
Sweeping low, he searches the faces
for the one he’ll call love. When he does,
this desire will show him what to do.
From King of the Fireflies (Sensitive Skin, 2018) by Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
Copyright 2018 Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
Tompkins is a poet and violinist who divides her time between New York and Nashville.