The Angel of Confession

This entry is part 17 of 20 in the series Highgate Cemetery Poems


Leprous angel

For touching what wasn’t mine—
even though I didn’t want it,
even though I gave it back—
I lost my fingers.
The press called us demonic
but they, my ten thin fates,
were innocent as fire
in search of fuel, & I
in my disguise as oxygen
couldn’t let them go out.
We shattered windows
to let more world
into those narrow shrines
to whatever. We broke in
aorta by aorta,
cavorting like a virus,
smashing the attenuated
plaster antibodies
in our excess of what
I thought was joy.
How they writhed & curled
in it! How they shook
& shuddered into ash.

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