The morning air is all awash with angels . . . - Richard Wilbur The eyes open to a blue telephone In the bathroom of this five-star hotel. I wonder whom I should call? A plumber, Proctologist, urologist, or priest? Who is most among us and most deserves The first call? I choose my father because He's astounded by bathroom telephones. I dial home. My mother answers. "Hey, Ma, I say, "Can I talk to Poppa?" She gasps, And then I remember that my father Has been dead for nearly a year. "Shit, Mom," I say. "I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry— How did I forget?" "It’s okay," she says. "I made him a cup of instant coffee This morning and left it on the table— Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years— And I didn't realize my mistake Until this afternoon." My mother laughs At the angels who wait for us to pause During the most ordinary of days And sing our praise to forgetfulness Before they slap our souls with their cold wings. Those angels burden and unbalance us. Those fucking angels ride us piggyback. Those angels, forever falling, snare us And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.
I wanted to walk outside and praise the stars, But David, my baby son, coughed and coughed. His comfort was more important than the stars So I comforted and kissed him in his dark Bedroom, but my comfort was not enough. His mother was more important than the stars So he cried for her breast and milk. It's hard For fathers to compete with mothers' love. In the dark, mothers illuminate like the stars! Dull and jealous, I was the smallest part Of the whole. I know this is stupid stuff But I felt less important than the farthest star As my wife fed my son in the hungry dark. How can a father resent his son and his son's love? Was my comfort more important than the stars? A selfish father, I wanted to pull apart My comfortable wife and son. Forgive me, Rough God, because I walked outside and praised the stars, And thought I was more important than the stars.