And they rent their garments
and painted their foreheads with ash
in supplication and lament.
The bright stone of the moon
bent down, still
upon the water where they stood
to the knees in cold reflected stars.
Breeze in branches made the sound
of women wiping their eyes with paper
or breathing in an icy room.
Everyone knew the angel had died
fruitlessly for their sakes, for the tin
and frayed lace rations of joy safekept
still in their original wrappings and bows,
and for the tears of things, God’s
equalizing measure, deep and dreaming
shadowless as water, lonely
as a dance.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.