Angel with a Sword

by Renee Emerson

A shaft of light cuts through the room
where a boy died yesterday. Not my boy.
I get my coffee from the machine we all use,
and linger just long enough to fill the cup.
His monitors ring a stripped bed, blank-faced,
passionless. I return to my daughter’s room
on that same hall, to hold her in the darkness
as she labors to breathe, as she crosses fire and light
and I am kept beyond it. I am kept back.

Renee Emerson is the author of the poetry collections Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014), Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016), and Church Ladies (Fernwood Press 2022). She is also the author of the chapbook The Commonplace Misfortunes of Everyday Plants (Belle Point Press), and the middle grade novel Why Silas Miller Must Learn to Ride a Bike (Wintergoose Publishing 2022). She lives in the Midwest with her husband and children.

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