Fathom Mag

Angels Like Jazz

after Billy Collins’s “Questions About Angels”

Published on:
January 30, 2023
Read time:
1 min.
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I wonder about angels, too.
I wonder, like you,
if they have pulled up a chair—
invisible and unannounced—
and I am entertaining them
with my coffee clouds
in the late morning sun—
as it spills light
through the slits
in the east window.

Or if they open
their delicate hands—
to catch my tears
as they slough
off my jaw
when nobody sees
or believes
in my pain.
And if they like my poems
at all—or not.
I wonder about that, too.
Or if I am their cup of tea.
And might they like me best?
Or do they even like tea at all—
like the sweet vanilla rooibos
on my nightstand
I never finish?

And I wonder, like you,
what they might feel,
or if their wings are heavy,
and if they read my mail
when it comes.
And when I bend to tend
my garden,
I wonder if two little ones
are with me to witness
my tenderness
and soft wishes
for the lost generations
that fell out of me too soon.

And I hope angels like jazz
like I do,
particularly Billie Holiday,
and most definitely “Blue Moon.”
So, I hope they don’t ever feel
alone or lonely,
like I do,
which are two different things,
as you know. 

They must not—
I think—
because I suspect
they have been the ones
to give comfort
with their soft breeze
across my arm
I mistook for the wind.
And that lovely presence
in the shadows
cast down
from the sweetbay
magnolia last May
I mistook for you?
I suspect those were angels, too—
dancing among us,
like old lovers at the piano bar
long after the music stops. 

Kimberly Phinney
Kimberly Phinney is a national award-winning AP English instructor and professional photographer. She’s been published in Ruminate, Ekstasis, The Dewdrop, Amethyst Review, Calla Press, Heart of Flesh, Agape Review, and The Write Launch, among others. She has her M.Ed. in English and studied at Goddard’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She is a poetry editor with Agape Review. After almost dying from severe illness in 2021, she’s earning her doctorate in counseling to help the marginalized and suffering. Visit her literary community at www.TheWayBack2Ourselves.com and on Instagram @thewayback2ourselves.

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