The Angel
       At age 13 his wings started to grow, and his face took on the quiet of an angel. He moved from childhood into adolescence with modesty.
With blue eyes
       and quiet, with a gaze
       unspeakably sad.

       At age 18 he was as tall and beautiful as an archangel.

       He scoured the city at night, from end to end, his eyes shining with black hope.
       Women tempted him, and he fell
       into temptation, more than once.

   At age 25 nothing interested him any more,
       at 30 he felt he was about done.
       On the first of March, 1991
he tied his halo around his neck and threw himself into the void.

§     §     §


When he got old, Grandpa Ferapont
had ears out to here
and he'd cup his hands to them
in the evening
to hear the wheat grow

His enormous head
looked like a little bell
(blue tongues of fire were his eyes)
he'd appear and disappear at the horizon
wagging his big ears
at five six in the evening
while the bells rang for vespers

He'd sit on his balcony
and pour his beard out over the city
with his hair slicked over his head
and his hands resting on his knees
he looked like a well-bucket
that had watched over the house age after age
that now someone
had brought to town

He leaned himself
over himself
to prove that he still was, existing
but water would not reflect his face
or maybe there was no water
just the shadow
of his desire to be
to be once
        more. And always.

--- From Second Hand Souls
Nichita Danilov
Translated from the Romanian
by Sean Cotter
©2003 Twisted Spoon Press
Box 21 --- Preslova 12
150 000 Prague 5, Czech Republic

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