November poem-a first draft

Nine times four plus four
times I sing “Gloria” but god
sends no angels. I envision wings
and wind, feathers ruffling in the cold,
the November bluster dramatic as always,
but still no pale face, no stern demeanor.
If I am to be redeemed, I must save
myself. Emancipate the fingers, the skin
of the body, the bones beneath it all
until the heart is exposed, about to fly
off the spine and into the atmosphere,
but a cold front steps in before I can truly
conceive this winged organ. The last leaves
mutter as I walk the ridge, acknowledge
the view: a few storm clouds yet linger
while the fragile remnants of frost bite
at the ground. I kneel to remember
that hymn as I beseech the valley—
in excelsis. This part of the mountain
catches birds only to toss them out.
Sometimes they reach the ionosphere
where red sprites flee into thunder.
It’s a miracle any survive. No angel
could fly through such turbulence
though I imagine they try anyway.
Beneath me a stray feather jerks
between two rocks, a last transaction
destined to fail. I save it, splicing
the barbules together one last time
until suddenly, the wind catches it,
flicks it into the world, spinning
it madly away from me. I watch it fly
knowing I helped make that particular
moment, redemption unasked for,
the gift of freedom from a most
ordinary hand.
© 2009 Christine Klocek-Lim

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