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by Kevin Prufer

All night, angels
                                  crashed through the trees,
so the yard was a scatter
                                                   of bent, failing bodies.
You said: Another! to the crackling of branches.
Their scraps are so sweet where they sway with the leaves.


From the garden, the asters said: Love was their weakness.
The firefly’s bright little heart disagreed.
Then down fell another, where it cracked on a low branch,
waking the neighbors
                                             who leaned from their windows
and peered toward the trees.


A crowd had collected
                                              in bathrobes and nightgowns,
their faces lit greenly in the angels’ dim glow.
I’d like to have known them
                                                          when they were more vibrant,
you said, looking down,


where one gurgled strangely,
                                                             its wings come undone.
A child had collected a handful of feathers.
Another threw sticks
                                            at one caught on a limb.
We’d better get digging, our neighbor said softly. 
They’ll stink in the sun.


Kevin Prufer’s newest books are National Anthem (Four Way, 2008) and Fallen from a Chariot (Carnegie Mellon, 2005). With Wayne Miller, he's also editor of New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008) and Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing. The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, he lives in rural Missouri. (5/2008)

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