for Ray Gene Patrick
Angels things don’t wear out,
not their lungs or dicks or stomachs,
never their unbroken hearts.
Never their hearts or guitars. God
keeps them whole for praise
and watches pieces of His human
children fall off until we beg Him
to take us back for good.
The young girls in their church clothes
fall asleep reading the Gospels.
The white crescents of their panties
wink like eyes under pleated skirts.
Great lust that must be fed, hunger
the angels don’t feel or understand.
Aren’t we the most fleeting things of all?
Naked, we are more than naked, and can’t
comprehend the great beauty of it in the
shower, or the dark bedroom, or in the back seat
of a ’57 Buick, getting the leather all wet.
Tastes we love may never touch our
tongues again. The grass won’t
always smell so green, will never fit
so right as it does laying down
under birds and clouds as they pass
like minutes of time allotted by God.
Breathe. One less breath you have to take.
One breath closer to the white light.
Breathe again. I won’t be there to see
God lift you up, smaller than one of His
brown fingernails, folded like a child
in his palm, holier than hands at a prayer meeting
Everyone who breathes wants to live,
and live until they’re old and it’s all
got to be written down. The names we loved
but can’t remember, the white dog
we’d like to have back, blue lights
in the back of a hearse, glowing, and
the young girl, asking you to follow her.
Everything the angels never get
to think about. They get the power
and the glory. We get to breathe.
We get one memory of darkness,
and another one of light. World
with, and without. Amen.