Although she is usually loath to be seen
so scandalously under-dressed, Beulah Rock
actually owns—stashed in the back of a drawer
somewhere—a prodigious yellow tee shirt
bearing the slogan I Believe in Angels
in bold blue letters as vivid as a summer sky.
A gift from Myrtle several birthdays ago,
it’s aired out once a year, at the annual picnic.
Some insist these celestial messengers are merely
symbolic, but she and the Reverend know better:
Many’s the time, at dusk when the diminished light
transforms fields and trees to a brief, dusty gold,
she’s sure she’s heard them softly singing,
voices concealed behind the rustling leaves
or in the patient refrain of the nearby river.
A reassurance, perhaps a benediction,
the words are strange, and vanish instantly,
like fragments of a conversation overheard
and then forgotten an instant before sleep.
Raised in New Jersey, Robert Lavett Smith has lived since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past sixteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has studied with Charles Simic and the late Galway Kinnell. He is the author of several chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is The Widower Considers Candles (Full Court Press, 2014). He has recently been working on an new collection of sonnets—his second foray into the form—which is entitled Sturgeon Moon, and which will hopefully be published by Full Court Press sometime this year.