At the Edge of Sleep—Reyzl Grace

At the edge of sleep,
the angel rocks my shoulder.
Her hand is warm and familiar,
sinking toward my spine.
Maybe, just maybe,
she’ll pull the cord this time
and open my skin like a parachute.

No such luck.
Just gentle, pressing fingers
on my back like leading
around panes of glass stained
by some commonplace inclusion. She moves,
and I grow stiller; she reaches
deeper, and I flatten out.
Maybe, just maybe,
this time she’ll scrive her poem
on the parchment of my shallow breath
and go.

Her head passes through
mine like a collision of planets
around a distant star,
a smothering, too-natural silence.
Maybe, just maybe,
this time she’ll toss the parts
of my body from the garret window
lightly into a thousand-year orbit,
seldom to return to the place
of their desolation.

The angel heaves
through with weightless hips,
slots her wings under
my scapulae like subducted plates,
as though maybe, just maybe,
this time I’ll erupt and fly
in Uranian exaltation, sunlit
through melting air and drown
in the wax of the sacred, stillblessed
and dripping.

The angel’s wings
pull through me, her drying feathers
sopping up the air inside
glassy-eyed lungs,
as though maybe, just maybe,
I might still collapse
in perfect wholeness, freed
of empty space. But I don’t.
And her limbs come away uncleanly
in long, sticky strands
of dawn.

Reyzl Grace is a transfemme Ashkenazi poet, essayist, and librarian working in both English and Yiddish. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in Rust & MothSo to SpeakMaenadLimp Wrist, and elsewhere. She can be found in the mastheads of Cordella Magazine and Psaltery & Lyre, as well as at and on Twitter @reyzlgrace.

photo by Lens Of Pritam (via pexels)