after a photograph by Michael Taggart
Fallen from cerulean sky unharmed,
but missing the company of the heavenly host,
he accepts the solace of a mortal friend,
removes his wings and lays them on the chair,
then lies back naked on the bed,
as if the crisp, white linens were airy wisps of cloud.
Smooth, gilded skin resplendent there as the youthful angel
rests his arm across his chest, hand over heart,
as if pledging allegiance, but to whom or what?
Not to you, despite his gratitude, nor to his heavenly duties–
right now the wings are off—the halo hanging on the bedpost.
Perhaps to beauty, his own or the ideal,
perhaps to his own spirit’s force,
the power to command desire without reciprocal obligation.
Mussed hair brushing over brow frames
grey eyes, wide as with innocence, that yet
cast a glance that speaks of knowledge.
Afterward, will he put on his wings and fly,
or hang them in your closet for awhile,
or box them up for charity?
T. Allen Culpepper