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O spent saint finished, haloed by
a spider web of shattered glass,

a semicircle spatter pattern
auraed on the sidewalk,

and casings like last bits of gold
in a mosaic picked by thieves. 

What angel will descend this night,
will light this wire-strung alley

to draw the fallen upward?
This thing far too destitute

to pay each aerial tollhouse, 
to climb concentric circles toward 

that mystery that makes
the streetlights flicker on at night?

The wailing sisters spit and
kick against the facts,

trailing their mute offspring.
The centurions hold them back.


J.M. Jordan’s poems have appeared recently in the Chattahoochee Review, Carolina Quarterly, Northern Virginia Review, and Smartish Pace. He is a homicide detective in Washington, DC, and enjoys bourbon, Byzantine history, long walks on Civil War battlefields, and (occasionally) sleep.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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