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Sunday, January 22, 2006


by Penelope Schott

There is an angel for every minute
but they are all looking away.

There was a twirling angel
riding the eye of the hurricane.

There is an angel for the gash
in the wall of the seventeenth street canal.

There is an angel for the infant
born on concrete between stadium seats.

There is an angel for the dead man
with his head slumped in a lawn chair.

There is another angel for the tarp
nobody spread over his body.

The multiple angels for the government
are busy watching golf on cable.

There is an angel for the old woman
floating face down under her rafters.

There is a special angel for her dog
who howls at the receding helicopter.

There are almost enough angels
that they might have made a difference.

A picayune angel here in Portland
is paying attention. She slaps my face,

she twists the wrist writing my check,
she says angels forbid the word deserve.

She says, Swallow the brown water,
the mud, the rot, the excrement,

the heavenly shimmer of gasoline.
Now go downtown and feed your own.

Penelope Schott lives in Portland, Oregon where Sisters of the Road Cafe does a great job of feeding and training the homeless. Her most recent books are The Pest Maiden: A Story of Lobotomy (2005) and Baiting the Void (2006), winner of the Orphic Prize.