Poetry

“The Bad Angels” by Stephen Dunn.

They are writing our names in the sky,
the bad angels with their calamitous wings.
They are spelling them wrong, exaggerating
the loops so that we’ll see each other
askew, imperfect, like clouds broken off
from other clouds, separated by blue.

Worst part of me, old underminer
whom I’ve exiled unsuccessfully
into the far-away charged air,
I know it’s your black-winged gang.
I wish I had some invisible means
of support, some magic against you.
I wish I could marshal all
that’s ever gotten away from me:
Love and loss, what plutonium!
What oblivion I could send you to.

They are changing our names in the sky,
making their own insidious designs.
I am one man with just the normal equipment,
saying, No, offering little essays to the wind.
They are removing the vowels now.
They are erasing the beginning and the end.

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