Daily Archives: October 29, 2020

That Deadly Angel

Simply stated, tonight
I have looked at my life.
Where there should be

terror and misery, I find instead
the face of peace and
a sliver of beauty,

what Rilke called
a form of terror
located this side of terrible.

Maybe I’m not far enough in
to see the far side tonight
and fall to my knees in fear.

If so, then this is as far
as I care to go right now.
I will allow myself to pretend

for an evening. The horror
in my life can remain beautiful
tonight. Let me sleep till

the broad light of day.
I’ll deal with it all then,
and at least have the memory

of this peace to steel me
as I turn to face
that deadly angel.

If Your Shadow Hatches

If your shadow ever
breaks open before you
and a shinier you pops out
like a fresh chick from a dark egg

what you should do
is eat the shell at once, swallow it whole
(because nutrients, y’know)
then shoo that newbie away into the forest
or desert or teeming city streets —
wherever you find yourself —
to fend for itself.

Swallow enough of your shadow
and you will change for the better,
we promise. Look
at how that new you is doing,
for instance. Whenever its shadow
hatches a shinier child
it sucks up those fragments
then mothers that new bird
all the way, every day.

You wouldn’t do any of that, of course.
You wouldn’t have a clue.
You would drink in front of the kid
and kick it and call it names
until it wilted or rotted clean through
and dulled itself right back to being
just like you —

which is why we’re telling you,
don’t do it. Don’t try.
It will hate you for it
but be infinitely better off on its own
even if it doesn’t survive,
and the rest of us will be, too, because
no one needs another just like you.