A crowd of people in dark pants and grey sweaters rushing to get inside a shopping mall before sunrise.

The Angel Gabriel Tries to Ghost Me

but he doesn’t know how to leave without fire and flood. He walks around my apartment putting things out of place: toothpaste in the junk drawer, scissors under the sink, clean clothes balled between couch cushions. The Angel Gabriel stands around clearing his throat and asking for things he has hidden until I reassure him of how sad I would be if he left. Secure again as the rightful object of desire, The Angel Gabriel gives me a going away present: a faceted stone pulsing with unearthly light. He says if I swallow the stone it will lodge in my core, keeping me warm on long nights alone. Angels, of course, do not have terrestrial digestive systems. After The Angel Gabriel leaves, I put the stone in a Tupperware, which I put in a cabinet. Despite this double enclosure, opal light leaks out around the hinges. The silent kitchen is illuminated, stage set for a visitation that has come and gone.


The Angel Gabriel Goes Black Friday Shopping

The rush and press of bodies reminds him of the throngs outside the gates of heaven, makes him nostalgic for the Sunset Gardens that rotate above the earth so that it’s always dusk, always jasmine on the breeze, always bees returning to the apiaries to unload their treasures. The Angel Gabriel brings me back a floor lamp that is too tall even for the tallest room in my apartment. No amount of angelic calculation or distortion can make it fit. At first we are silent on the drive back to the store, but soon he is telling me about the gates, how the only hell is the crowd, the waiting, the unobscured view of paradise through the vine-twined bars. He tells me how a feature of heaven is the white-noise murmur of the unlucky ones, there but for the grace of God go we. Our return is denied, all sales final. We leave the lamp on the sidewalk. In the rearview mirror I see it: peering through the store’s front window, on the outside looking in.

Photo by Powhusku, used and adapted under CC.