ANGELS

She says sometimes an angel 
will appear, and you won’t know it.
Driving US 1 out of Narragansett,
the map says you are close to the sea.
You cannot smell the salt air,
there is no scent of cod or clam,
there is only faith.
The waitress in the Newport Café
wears the plaid shirt
and khaki trousers, a uniform.
You don’t recognize angels, sometimes.
I said she was Russian,
my wife said she thought the girl
was French, the girl smiled.
I said she had the smile
of a matryoshka doll.
The girl said her name was Lidia, she
was Russian.  Most men thought
she was Russian, most women
thought she was French, she said.
I wondered if there was another smile
inside, and one inside that.
She didn’t heal my sore back
or shorten the seven hour drive.
I remember that smile a day later.
Sometimes angels just tell you
you don’t need more than you have.

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