From the heart of the inferno Dante and Lucifer grow bored waiting, waiting for the ferry while Charon stops for lunch yet again at a Greek diner in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. They take up a game of catch tossing Molotov cocktails, raining fire onto the brimstone, setting the Styx ablaze. Each knows this is not necessary, for necessity is a creature of heaven and there is no room for the extraneous here in the realm of forgotten souls. We watch from deep within a nightmare of our darkest memories, certain that heaven must await us, or purgatory if that is how our fate is to finally be written. The angels dance on the ceiling waiting for the precise moment to break Morpheus’ grasp and drag us back to our reality, to continue our dance between heaven and hell.
The ghosts of my birth parents blow into my dreams as so many white sheets torn from the clothesline by gale winds, fly over me, at once angels and vultures carrying off memories created from the clay of surmise and wishful thinking.
I invite their visits, frail branches to which to cling in the storms of growing age, beginnings tenuous anchors to hold against time, knowing the battle cannot be won, but take joy in skirmishes not to be diminished by an ultimate failure I have long come to accept.
There are nights when the song of a single cricket can pull you away from sleep. She says that she has heard that not all Angels have wings and neither of them is sure how you would know if you met a bodhisattva. He searches the mail every day, for a letter from unknown birth parents but none of the credit cards he ought to carry offers to rebate his dreams. Each night they lie back pressed to back and slip into dreams. She records hers in the journal she keeps with the pen, by the bed. He struggles to recall his and places what shards he can in the burlap sack of his memory.
First Published in Where Beach Meets Ocean, The Block Island Poetry Project, 2013
She wants to ask me how many lawyers can dance on the head of a pin, but she knows that at their hourly rates, no one will pause to count them. There is that, and the fact that lawyers are used to calling the tune, and not dancing to it. That, she says, and lawyers are never mistaken for angels.
She says she is certain that she has seen the archangel Gabriel. It was late at night, to be sure, but it clearly wasn’t someone of this world and equally clearly not an alien, since there was no UFO or wormhole. She knew, as well, it wasn’t God, “Why would God trifle with me, when there are so many more important people to scare the devil out of. It had to be Gabriel, I just know it, and in the end he did prove it to me, not by speaking of course, his presence was communication enough, but by how he dressed. Only Gabriel,” she noted, “would dare appear in public in a deep beige Armani linen suit.”