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This poem is taken from PN Review 262, Volume 48 Number 2, November - December 2021.

Retablos Michelle Penn
retablo for the men

              they watch from the sidelines, shadow-men, bearded camp
counsellors, jokey dentists she was told she liked, Angel walking the angled
 halls of her life, one eye turned to a silhouette, it

              jumps at her, the other angel, leaps onto her back, leather wings
thick, inflated muscles fierce, it sinks teeth into her neck, rakes nails across
her face, she heaves it away, stomps its angel foot, plants
a fist into blood-laced lips but it

              recovers, it always does, swoops back, wings slapping air, grabs her
shoulders, hisses I bless you, yet she’s fast as a dancer
sliding down one wing in a tease

              while they watch from the sidelines, gentle men, soft men
who meant no harm, I bless you the angel hisses, Angel shouts, No I bless
you, drowns out the choir of its voice, wipes blood from her neck, straightens
her dress, shadows calling

              Angel as she limps down the hallway, keeping one eye

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