the last angel summer

 

down the street, the river bar finally closed

and dad saw angels on highway 302—wings

down, just walking. real angels: with bug

eyes and azalea fingers, twirling a marlboro

 

menthol in their mouth of mouths. he swears

he saw them, but didn’t say hi—said, it looked

like they had somewhere to be. we all have

somewhere to be. like, right now i’m almost-

 

angeling in the blue barn, sojourning through

storage containers to find my desk hutch

for the soon year. right now, i’m remembering

how dad took me to that old fish store down

 

bush river road and we bought tetras. ten

tetras for our tank. and how they sat in my lap

on the way home, darting around like miracles

in a polyethylene bag. maybe the angels had fish

 

in their pockets—little bags of freshwater magic

to keep them grounded. practical magic: the kind

that keeps the wild grapes uneaten by the river

and the wobbly-legged fawn safe in the field

 

eating bahia. soon enough, dad will pack

the truck and i will gather up our spare magic

and go—but that’s future tense talk, which

i’ve heard angels aren’t so fond of. so here’s

 

the present: today, we eat homemade pancakes

and nap through the afternoon thunderstorm.

today, we walk down to the river and watch

the water striders dance to the quiet hum of

 

the woods. today, we see a new flock of angels

out in our tomato patch picking their share,

and we don’t stop them. they have somewhere

to be, dad says. we all have somewhere to be.