PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

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
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image