Marian Haddad
Poet: Melissa Marconi


Entering Where Angels Fear to Tread

Entering Where Angels Fear to Tread
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Entering Where Angels Fear to Tread

The shaman warns -
Do not reach into darker lands
(We all have one hand in the dark/
the other shields us from exposure)

She is the weight of a small bag of apples
Her wings are moth-tattered (Her skin feels
like her wings) Her eyes small She once
peered through the black breath of the underworld, she
never loved again

Subway tunnels, nostrils, a clogged tear duct, drain
pipes that lead to sewers,
(a nucleus packed tightly with dark secrets)
where the land darkens, where the shaman has seen . . .

(the moon has watched this discomfort
for centuries/ has a clear view of
what even angels must fear)

(What if the darkest underworld is -
submitting to love?)

She smells apples rotting,
(she has her senses about her)
she watches the leaf's path from green to yellow to brown, but
this angel cannot rightly rest on anyone's shoulder
she is all too aware
of moving towards darkness

she is incapable of love

(The moon taunts her, illuminates light against
a black backdrop)

Still she follows souls around the block
chases any touch she might actually experience
Even the wind bruises her
The rain leaves pock marks
tears holes in her wings
(She deteriorates but cannot disappear)
(Dark is an eternity to imagine
the endless possibilities of fear)
I found this angel shivering and snotty
on a subway racing to nowhere
Hungry and broken
hands so gnarled she could not be held

(And now, I cannot escape the sound of her raspy breath
I can no longer run from this dark)
(Love is an act of utter faith --
an act of submersion)

She survived the underworld
(she hides from the moon)
She smells of apples and dust,
her small eyes are black
she flutters and runs from what has found her
(near blind and desperate to touch
any source of light)

The pit of a cavern
a hole in one's tooth
small jar of India ink
a perfect round pupil
the dark nub of lead beneath the skin
a thin broken line of ants traveling one's leg . . .

(There is nothing to fear
if we become what chases us)
I am running from what found me

I tripped over this broken, dirty
angel, she pulled tears from my
eyes, they dried and crusted
(I haven't seen clearly since)
She smells of salt and old apples
She does not sleep
No shaman will see her
(There is no shaman)

She cannot take food from me
she allows me to hold
the stump of her twisted hand
(my hand is empty) we move
slowly with the subway looking
for different shades of dark
(There is nothing to fear
because I cannot love)
She's crawled inside me, she spreads
like ink
in the small folds of my ear
through the crowded miles of blood vessels
in the shadows and swirls of every fingerprint
she is buried in each tightly packed nucleus
reading my dark secrets

We run from the moon, trap moths and discuss
the pungent smell of death
She whispers to me
the moans of the underworld
until I, too, can make out
their screams through the wind

I carry her in a small pouch
close to my hip
(she is not heavy /she cannot be light)
she has no one

The shaman forewarns the seeker -
dark sticks to the hand like tar
He insists
I renounce her
but she has no one
and I am not afraid
She came to me
(this angel already dead)
because she reached into a darker land
it engulfed her - filled her veins with pitch
Because the moon will not allow her a shadow
she is lonely
and because I am now banished
damaged, heavy as tar, blind as a broken moth

I carry her as my fate
My darkest underworld -
submitting to this love

© Melissa Marconi
All rights reserved

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