Guardian Angel

By Elda Mengisto

You run down the cobblestones, covered in waning moonlight,
and I marvel at your form.
The drapes of your dress fly across;
they are even lighter than your wings
dripping feathers like a well
losing the last clear drops of water.
I do not rush towards you;
I cross my legs on the bench,
and my black, mesh skirt folds right over my legs.
But I long for nothing–
just for comfort.

We always find ourselves naked–
but for whom do we stand before?
You know my heart remains resolute through
the secret garden of delights;
the orchids turned to ice
and they have not tempted me tonight.

But where were you when the frost came
and killed those fresh cherries
before I could eat them?
You thought of giving up flight
so you could give something to the ordinary.

I drip in sweat, but dew drops my eyes.
I cannot wait for morning,
for I will wrap myself up again,
a present to the fall which persists through our wishes
and keeps itself in a stasis.
And yet you build yourself a fire,
so that you may conjure the light again,
so you may purge yourself of the right
to self-indulge in what you’ve sinned against.

Come onto me tonight, for the moon will fade,
and only the clouds will watch over us.
We need to stifle our worst fears,
for God values our tears above all,
but they will not crystalize for our protection-
they remain to resemble our sorrows.
Light all the candles on the boulevard,
for one day, the streetlamps will burn out
and the only way to buy fruit
is to hold the other’s hand.

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