483: Bring Now the Angels

483: Bring Now the Angels

483: Bring Now the Angels

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Bring Now the Angels
by Dilruba Ahmed

To test your pulse as you sleep.
Bring the healer	           the howler 				        the listening ear—

Bring 			an apothecary		 to mix 	the tincture—
               We need the salve
the tablet		    the capsule
                of the hour— 	Bring sword-eaters
and those 	who will swallow fire—
                                                Fetch the guardian

to flatten the wheelchair,
                                                 to hoist it toward heaven:
the public shuttle awaits
                                                 the ceaseless trips to the clinic.
To the bedside manner
                                                  summon witness: this medic’s
disdain toward patients 				the physician’s dismissal
                                                   of pain—
And call the druggist, again, to drug us senseless—

Bring a nomad	 to index our debts
             tuck 	    each invoice            into broken walls

of regret—	 		Call the cleric		 the clerk
               the messengers divine—
Summon someone		 collect the prayers		 buried

or burnt 	tied to stones	 	sunk in seas
               dunked underwater		 	    until all dissolves

The tickets rustle in a hat, the carnival music slows
A lottery ball spins, the carousel stops, the candy machine spins gold

Bring now the scribe. Let it be written:
There is no shepherd, no Sherpa, no moonlight guide
            for these, the darkest journeys of our lives.
Who will lift the shuttle above the outposts of the living?
Who will watch it rise and rise?
Who will clear a path among all the wreckage?
Who will weave a nest for all the birds of passage?
Who will bridge the gap between savage and salvage?
Who will sing
                                          over wilting stalks, rough husks, silk

still gleaming
like hair in a dream?

"Bring Now the Angels," by Dilruba Ahmed, from BRING NOW THE ANGELS by Dilruba Ahmed, copyright © 2020 Dilruba Ahmed. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.