What to Do with an Angel

I’ll tell you what to do with an angel.
When you walk through the front door
of a stranger’s house
and lying stiffly in a hump of a heap
is an old prayer-stained angel,
take off your overcoat
and throw it over the formless bulk
where the angel’s body is lewdly crystallizing.

Then walk over to the stranger
and put your hand on his shoulder.
Say, “It will be okay now, friend.
Just try to sleep it off.”
Turn to leave.

The stranger will say, “Thank you, friend.”
Smile and nod slightly and step toward the door.
“Friend?” the stranger will call out,
“What about your coat?”
Try not to shudder or hesitate too long.
Reply, “Keep it,” and now you may leave for good, and quickly.

When you have left the house
and are moving away more gradually among your footsteps
you will be free to mutter to yourself,
“It’s ruined . . . it’s ruined . . .”