The Last Angel

In the streets of a city at the edge of hell, the last angel traces out every dead end in soft, measured footsteps.  In her hand is a shard of star, with which she marks boarded-up windows and decaying walls.  She writes fragments of poetry in gutter cant and half-formed creoles, draws crude stick figures of lovers coupling and cats curled by leaking radiators.

The last angel has only one wing, and it is the color of smog and the crisp, charred end of a candle wick.  She plucks her flight feathers and gives them to nursing mothers and beggars huddled in coats two sizes too large.  The last battle has been fought, and hell’s gates are open wide, but some people cling to the city’s cinders nonetheless.  Although she cannot guide them out of the city–that is something only they can do for themselves–she can give them her assurance that, as long as they linger here, so will she.

for YKL