Jon Veinberg



When the shades
are snapped shut,
days fold into night,
nights fog the day
and when the curtain is lowered
to a level where
the only light left
is the one leaking
through the unpatched
gaps of the roof
now shadowed by
mist, leaf-hang
and horned bird claw.
When the wind
becomes a hustler
of the slow-lobbed
clouds and the alone
star turns white
as a weasel’s tooth
under a fast
rising August moon
and the lobster
shift cop sits in his car
under the oaks,
considers the webbed
lines of his palm
and sings “ Going Going
Gone “ to a sunrise
that bleeds the good eye
of the crackhead
shivering in his duffeled
coat, each step
a rattle of bones
criss-crossing the
Van Ness Ave. tracks
heading south
to a lineup of clinics
and Army cheese.
When grace has passed
into a knothole of breath
and the sparrows refuse
to surge upward
and the dog napping
on the back porch,
with its burned out bulb
won’t nudge awake,
a water bowl of dead moths
at its nose
and when the last soldier
to leave Cambodia
parachute doesn’t open
and the 2 year old
swallows water in the frigid
waves of the Baltic,
salt gungeing its lungs,
will all ask for more
time and for us, angels
of the everyday,
are to stand stone-cold
by their side
on the doorway steps
on their way out,
prop them up
to stand nose to nose
with the devil as he haggles
their sins. And it never gets
easy, butting heads with
Jesus, not as hard as what
my shadowy cousin Bob,
the angel of explosives,
doled out to the Fat Man
bombers of Nagasaki,
with the same, equal dose
of mercy and severity
as trying to mend
the ripped quilt
of an ocher sky
with loose thread.


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