Two Poems by Lenny Liane

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Escape Velocity

Whenever clouds enshroud
Orion’s hourglass of stars
and the moon stays concealed,
I feel a sadness, as if left alone.

Yet how many times have I seen,
in Orion’s upper left corner,
Betelgeuse, one of the largest
stars known? It glows and

shimmers a reddish-orange hue
as it nears the end of its life,
in maybe no more than
a thousand years from now.

* * *

In the half-year my mother
was dying, as a salve for sorrow,
she phoned each of her friends

to share a remembered past
and to confess how much
she cherished their affection.

Then she would say goodbye.

* * *

Lights begin to go out for the night
as early as eight in my neighborhood
and a perceivable silence arises.
Once in a while, a Harley interrupts
by barreling down the back road.

Yet, even then, there’s a slender
slice of quiet as the motorcycle
shifts into a higher gear
before racing, fast and far away,
as if it’s reached escape velocity
and steers toward the stars.

Questions Concerning the Head of a Pin

Not how many, but how do angels do-si-do
or polka on the head of a pin? What happens
to the six wings Isaiah says each seraph carries
(two covering his or her face, two over her feet

and the last pair so he can fly)? No dancing here.
Ezekiel is no more enlightening. His angels
move on wheels in the middle of wheels,
like gyroscopes, but go only straight ahead.

And what if St. Fulgentius of Ruspe is right
and evil angels have bodies of air?
Would the fallen ones twirl like tornadoes,
tearing up the available dance space?

On one pin, perhaps, angels, in queues, moved
to macarena, their arms in orchestrated gestures,
or else a body of beatific beings belly dancing
—which begs the question of bellies and arms.

Is the limbo reserved for unbaptized cherubs
and can avenging angels do the saber dance?
Do archangels pose in grand arabesques,
one arm extended toward the hand of God?

Do angels die, fade coldly, like dwarf stars
or dancers in a marathon? And do the new ones
know the old steps, take up a spot, vacant briefly,
varying the headcount for a nanosecond or two?

And, lastly, does Gabriel blow his golden horn
as nimble angels, more than we can count,
hully gully, hustle or boot scoot and boogie
to the syncopated rhythms of the stars?

Lenny Lianne, born in Washington, DC and spending the next 45 years in Northern Virginia, is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Sunshine Has Its Limits (Kelsay Books). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from George Mason University and has taught various forms of poetry in workshops on both coasts. A world traveler, she lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog.

Image: Diligent, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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