Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "What the Angels Left" by Marie Howe



At first, the scissors seemed perfectly harmless.
They lay on the kitchen table in the blue light.


Then I began to notice them all over the house,

at night in the pantry, or filling up bowls in the cellar


where there should have been apples. They appeared under rugs,

lumpy places where one would usually settle before the fire,


or suddenly shining in the sink at the bottom of soupy water.

Once, I found a pair in the garden, stuck in turned dirt


among the new bulbs, and one night, under my pillow,

I felt something like a cool long tooth and pulled them out


to lie next to me in the dark. Soon after that I began

to collect them, filling boxes, old shopping bags,


every suitcase I owned. I grew slightly uncomfortable

when company came. What if someone noticed them


when looking for forks or replacing dried dishes? I longed

to throw them out, but how could I get rid of something


that felt oddly like grace? It occurred to me finally

that I was meant to use them, and I resisted a growing compulsion


to cut my hair, although in moments of great distraction,

I thought it was my eyes they wanted, or my soft belly


—exhausted, in winter, I laid them out on the lawn.

The snow fell quite as usual, without any apparent hesitation


or discomfort. In spring, as expected, they were gone.

In their place, a slight metallic smell, and the dear muddy earth.



by Marie Howe 



For more information about poet, Marie Howe, see:


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/marie-howe

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