Do you want to come in?
Take a deep breath.
The repo man is gone.
All I had to do was show him
My favorite gun
And tell him about
My conviction
That a shame-faced galaxy
Mutters a homily of return. 
The repo man will return
With back-up
So I promoted the orphan
To vagabond.
Why do you think they call it
The chain of command?
Writing out of fear—
That razzle-dazzle
Of shackles and manacles
Makes angels cry,
And, admit it,
That’s what you wanted.
My first angel came
In a haze of Alice blue
That emanated
From a dulcimer she cradled
But did not play.
She did a little angel jig
And turned away.
I guess all angels are sad-eyed,
Like you.
Do you want to come in?
Take a deep breath.
Everything is about to happen.
How much like
angels are these tall
gladiolas in a vase on my coffee
table, as if in a bunch
whispering. How slender
and artless, how scandalously
alive, each with its own
humors and pulse. Each weight-
bearing stem is the stem
of a thought through which
aspires the blood-metal of stars. Each heart
is a gift for the king. When
I was a child, my mother and aunts
would sit in the kitchen
gossiping. One would tip
her head toward me, “Little Ears,”
she’d warn, and the whole room
went silent. Now, before sunrise,
what secrets I am told!—being
quieter than blossoms and near invisible.

Copyright © 2018 by Toi Derricotte. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 8, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Wan oxymoron of a fish, dotted
dun and fledge winged, mud-feathered when
it glides through silt, by nature bottom fed.
Whoever named it named himself a man
of undisputed Christian eye,
who saw in mortal depths a guardian
and humblest trumpeter. God tongue to cry,
it haunts an earth too dread for dread-
filled man til rapture calls: Arise and fly.

Published by American Poetry Journal, 2004. Copyright © 2004 by Hailey Leithauser. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Even when it’s become a piece of furniture
upholstered in the stiff brocade of rigor mortis,
a corpse blistered with acids into a tapestry,
poked full of holes by bullets, and blurred
by miles of roads, they find it.
They find the body because
there is no where it can go, there is no death
deep or dark enough, no unlit alley bleak enough to hide it.
Even hidden it brings the resurrection to it,
even lying low in the slot of the unmarked grave,
its carnality works like a magnet.
They will find it, haul it leaking and weeping
up from the black suction of the fathomless lake.
The lakes, the woods, the gardens are filled
with its unmentionable perfumes.
The body cannot hide, and there’s no room
for modesty, no provision for rest.
They are dogs and wolves. They will find it.
They will dig it up.

From The Nerve Of It: Poems New and Selected, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2015 by Lynn Emanuel. Used with permission of the author.

The church is quaint, and carved, and olden;
The sunlight streams in wavelets golden,
            This Christmas morn,
Through stained glass scenes from Bible stories,
On ancient knights whose sculptured glories
            The aisle adorn.

The rays are shed in chastened splendour
On many a dead and gone defender
            Of Church and Crown;
On Lancelot, the brave Crusader,
And Guy, who slew the French invader,
            And saved a town.

The manor lords in line unbroken
Rest here begirt with sign and token
            Of ages past;
And dames and maidens, proud and stately,
Lie here with folded hands sedately,
            And eyes shut fast.

Among their tombs the sunlight lingers
Then halts between the anthem singers,
            And warriors grim.
For there, ’midst many a warlike relic,
Fair children sing the song angelic,
            Christ’s birthday hymn.

In rev’rie wrapt, I pause and listen,
I watch the darting sunbeams glisten
            On floor and wall;
Then pass from dead to living graces,
And on the children’s happy faces
            In splendour fall.

This song of peace—these gentle voices,
These glad young hearts that life rejoices,
            My fancy thought,
Are dearer homage to the Master
Then all the Church’s foes’ disaster
            These dead knights wrought.

Gone are the days of gloom and error,
Love’s sceptre breaks the rod of terror
            In our fair isle.
And as the children sing His message
Of Peace on Earth the joyful presage,
            They win God’s smile.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was published in The Lifeboat and Other Poems (John P. Fuller, 1883). This poem is in the public domain.