Temporary Angels

I was visited by an angel
  that sunny afternoon in May
Amid sun-speckled shade
  lying head-in-lap with my lover
  on a park bench beneath the ripening Spring
    of our youth
Her name was Emily
  – the angel, not my lover –
  and she lived in the dorm
    behind Dartmouth Hall

It was Spring, of course
  and suddenly
The air was filled with cherry blossoms
A gentle snowburst of velvet white
  showering down upon our heads
Amid the green
And Emily was dancing around us,
  singing an ode to love
    and to the young lovers
      which we yet were

And then, as quickly, she was gone –
  or going, at the very least
Having delivered her message,
  her psalm
    Waking in us the realization
      of how good, at this very moment,
      it was to be us
      Right Now
She descended to earth and resumed
  her merely mortal task
  of getting to class on time
The Hebrew makes no distinction:
  mal’akh is messenger
  and mal’akh is angel
The two were the same to our fathers

Until now, when so many wait,
  brushing aside messages of love
    from those who hold them dear
While waiting for an angel to bring them a sign

It brings me to tears

But even so, I am drawn
  to park benches
Where weary mothers rest while their children run
Where old couples wait
  in each other’s quiet company
Remembering springtime
  and cherry blossoms of their own

Where the street-sullied man
  whose dreams have been reduced
    for now
  to three carrier bags
    and a cockeyed grocery cart
Where he nurses his soul
  and asks “What now?”

I can’t help it – I am drawn
These are sacred spaces
Like my own Mount Moriah where,
  anointed in cherry blossoms,
I was visited by an angel
  to renew my faith
And so, donning my heart of paper wings
I slow when I approach
  to do what little any stranger can
    from the passing glance of a morning’s walk
An earnest smile is all:
  to recognize the humanity
    the beauty that is you
And pay homage to your hopes,
  your dreams
  and the untold story
    of the long road you have known

That is all

But again, why?
Because I know that for this one moment
  in the eyes of my fathers
    and all they believed in
By delivering this message
I too am an angel

(While walking along Île des Cygnes in Paris)

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