M.E. Csamer | Kingston, ON | LCP member since 1999


Incompetent Angel

Entering the daycare at naptime,
lights turned low, soft music,
my breath catches, every time:
two dozen little futon beds,
on each, a child, some sleep
while others play shadow games
or, eyes wide, indulge in private reveries.

My grandson, Joe, rests in the far corner
a smile from one and there, a wave,
as I make my way to Joe.
They all know I’m his Grandma,
Coming early twice a week
To take him to therapy.

I’m usually late, wanting him
to sleep as long as possible
so we have to hurry
but he runs to me, half asleep,
slips into my arms nesting his head
in my neck, like a small bird in wind.
We melt together for a time
measured like the first sip of water
after a day-long thirst.

No one notices us, our epoch moment.
Time has no construct
for such flashes, they pass and last
we hope they will come again at death
so we can go honestly, remembering.

As I embrace my grandson, love stretches
the mind, but it can’t make sense of this
how fierce and helpless love is
incompetent angel,
wanting to keep safe the innocents
but having no authority
over errant cars, defective genes,
lust and greed and poverty.

Love’s stubborn, stupid grief
Is all I have for you, Joe,
that and its courage, its strength
how it cracks me open like an egg
another birth in this room of fledglings.

***
M. E. Csamer is widely published in Canadian literary magazines. Her books include Paper Moon (watershedBooks, 1998), Light is What We Live In (Artful Codger Press, 2005), and A Month Without Snow (Hidden Brook Press, 2007). She is a Past President of the League of Canadian Poets.

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