“Elegy for a Fallen Angel”
by Deborah J. Brannon

What is it about autumn?
You always asked that question, when I knew you.
What is it about autumn?
every time something went wrong.
I stand by my assurance that as many things went wrong
for you in other seasons.
You were just stuck on autumn
(that is also called Fall)
because of the day you suffered
by a plan, or a mistake, that at least you never intended.
But you can never anticipate God.
You said that too.

You used to moan in your sleep.
I’d never tell you. I’d never even wake you,
spare you the pain of your dreamed remembrances.
I was selfish then. Your half-coherent mutterings
were the only window I had into your inhuman,
smoldering wreck of a heart.
The wind is swift and it hurts, you’d say.
The wind is swift and it hurts.
I made the connection one night, late when
intuitive leaps seem more acceptable and true.
The wind knifed you as you fell from a very long height,
a height no human could hope to survive.
I wondered who pushed you.

When you started coughing up blood,
I knew you’d be going home soon.
I didn’t know whether they’d let you in
and you probably didn’t either.
You didn’t seem any happier to leave,
at any rate. I thought I should ask you some questions.
I wanted to know about the swift wind that hurt.
I wanted to hear you say why you really disliked autumn.
I wanted to believe, wanted inalienable validation.
You died in autumn,
with little fanfare and absolutely no heavenly host
and my questions still unasked.
Who can believe in a story like that?



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