Three Poems on the Angel Gabriel

A poetry triptych

Three Poems on the Angel Gabriel
Photo by Andika Christian / Unsplash

by Frances Klein

The Angel Gabriel Brought Me a Message

but forgot it the second he saw his first cat video. He knows the message was important but not why, does not know whether it would have ended war or offered a balm to the Twelve Infinite Sadnesses of the human condition. The Angel Gabriel has taken eight showers and five long walks hoping the message will come back to him, but it’s still there dancing on the tip of his tongue like his cousins on the head of a pin, infinite and out of reach.

The Angel Gabriel Goes to Open Mic Night

He tries a joke first about the difference between a crow and a raven, but the punchline relies on a level of avian knowledge the audience just doesn’t have. The tables are filled with college students looking for the medication of a cheap drink, and skeptical tourists lured in by the marquee’s promise of Comedy! and five dollar pitchers. When he sits down, the place where his Adam’s apple should be slick with flop sweat, The Angel Gabriel says the moment between the punchline and the absence of laughter is the closest he has ever felt to being human. A host of empty glasses assembles on the table between us as he tells me that being God’s messenger on Earth used to mean something. At last call, The Angel Gabriel goes back up on stage and reveals the true meaning of life, though most of the bar’s patrons are too deep in their pitchers to hear.

The Angel Gabriel Appears to Me

in a dream

upon waking

in the bathroom mirror, a warped form through the showerfog

in my mentions, liking every post

in a pop-up ad for life insurance

on each street corner; sometimes a busker, saxophone to heavenly lips, sometimes waiting on the wingless man for permission to walk

at the gym, lifting too much weight for too many reps

at the deli, puzzling over the mystery of the jalapeño popper

in the lounge, restocking the Kcups

at a Monster Truck rally, polishing the chrome hubcaps of the winning truck

at the beach, wrestling an umbrella

in the highest branches of the cherry tree, raining a halo of blossoms on the sidewalk around me

at the trailhead, passing out free bottles of water

at the museum

in every painting

at the party, falling out of the pinata

on all 52 cards in the deck

in traffic, letting me merge

as a voice harmonizing with the AM band static

in the coin-only toll booth

on a Cirilla’s billboard advertising earthly delights

at the scene of the accident, taking insurance information

in my peripheral vision, no matter how quickly I turn my head

The Angel Gabriel has appeared to me so often, in places familiar and foreign; when he finally appears on my doorstep, I think nothing of letting him in

Frances Klein (she/her) is an Alaskan poet and teacher writing at the intersection of disability and gender. She is the 2022 winner of the Robert Golden Poetry Prize, and the author of the chapbooks New and Permanent (Blanket Sea 2022) and The Best Secret (Bottlecap Press 2022). Klein currently serves as assistant editor of Southern Humanities Review.