MODERN MARY AND THE ANGEL OF FAILURE- Emma Neale

A tiny angel enters the room
in a halo of sungold dust motes.
In Mary’s ear: a high-pitched annunciation
she doesn’t at first quite catch.

It tries to tell her she’s a sweet-hot stunner,
drives life itself crazy with her
scent of coconut and maple,
mango body-butter, coffee,
beach salt, beach towel, sunscreen,
last night’s sauvignon, and see,
the succulent curve and bend of her …

The angel’s touch brushes her
with a faint stirring wind,
the hairs on the back of her neck
quiver like harp strings.

Troubled at these sayings
Mary looks over her shoulder,
asks, who’s there?
Swift as a night nurse
the angel plunges the syringe;
its small prick enters,
the quick sting lifts,
flustered Mary is left
with a visible white swelling
that comes to nothing
but this minor, red-capped
princeling of disappointment,
an itch that irritates:
incarnation of her own
and the world’s
deep imperfections.

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