Mary Szybist


If I can believe in air, I can believe
in the angels of air.

Angels, come breathe with me.

Angel of abortion, angel of alchemy,
angels of barrenness & battlefields & bliss,
exhale closer.  Let me feel
your breath on my teeth—

I call to you, angels of embryos,
earthquakes, you of forgetfulness—
be dutiful: tilt my head back.

Angels of infection, cover my mouth
and nose with your mouth.

Failed inventions, lift my chin.

Angels of prositution and rain,
you of sheerness & sorrow,

you who take nothing, breathe into
my silence.  You who have cleansed your lips

with fire, I do not need to know
your faces.  I do not need you
to have faces.

Angels of water insects, let me sleep
to the sound of your breathing.

You without lungs, make my chest rise—

Without you, my air tastes
like nothing.  For you
I hold my breath.

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review