Saints and Angels
by Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb

There were none in his life.
Although her father and she were
estranged, this sense of restless
flapping is nonetheless offensive
as vultures descend upon the dead man
in the living room--it was his tomb
even before the family funeral
for her blood and minimal others.

After all the years of hissing or silence,
these scavengers have found vocal cords.
Some read prayers, some tell good lies--
heroes in their own narratives
about her father, and some cry
grotesquely. He would have died
laughing had he not mysteriously
missed a few pills. So simple a slip,

a fall, then a morphine drip to further rip
that instinctual grip on life. His wife--
her mother--a small dove smothered
by condolences rather than love
is content to fold against a carelender’s
shoulder. Holding on, the buzzard nurses
off the little bird and curses, impatient
like the others, featherless head ready

to enter the remains--the daughter knows
an accomplice, a murderess, when she
sees one. Blind, her father had not been
aware that angels glide past suicide,
and saints dare not assist, thus she must
be in the midst of prowlers. Hell
is crowded; she cannot uncurl her wings
already too death-heavy for flight.

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