Angels of Choice
We lie trapped beneath
The Masonic geometry of Washington,
our bodies racked by long vistas,
our hearts bearing the tall spike’s pain.
Black-windowed limos rake my chest
with the loose gravel of power.
One of my hands reaches into a pocket
and small coins become bombs.
The other marks an X beside the black man’s name,
and soon he begins to lie.
Along the lines of my flesh I hear
the dark weeping of the disappeared.
There is no escape from the weight of this geometry.
My shackled movements shake small dirt
from boots that are always marching.
Ignorance is pressed into us as
we accept the banked protocol that
drives there along the avenues of shame.
Year after year, I unwrap the paper skin
of a garlic bulb, separate the cloves,
press each piece of the pinwheel
into cool October soil, while in my mind
green spears arise from the dirt
as April’s earth turns light.
Here I could dwell, here I could
let words fall out of the sky onto a white page,
here I could cradle the head of a neighbor
old now and fallen from his heights.
Here geometry is written on paper as thin
as a summer cloud disappearing.
by Susie Patlove