All Articles by Jessica Wingert


The morning the angel fell in love with her,
he attached his blazing invisible wings to her
shoulder blades with transparent duct tape.
Her first child would often reach behind her ears
and stroke the shivering feathers in the air
or he would tilt back his head to see the cirrus
canvases tacked above the sunset, grinning
as though he spotted a familiar face peering
’round the corner of a rose-tinted cloud.
At those times, she would glance over her
shoulder or gaze up into the heavens swathed
in playclothes of pink chiffon and red tulle,
and she would pray that he would never forget
whatever it was she could never see.

We Children Had No Choice But to Give Up the Roses

and the stone lions guarding the front door under the magnolia
trees, the curved bronze figures resting and dancing in the den,
the matted-down olive carpet running up the stairs, the towering
grandfather clock standing watch in the foyer, swinging its golden
scepter stiffly, ticking loudly, precisely, right, left, and on and on,
every second boxed in by glossy walnut panels and beveled glass.
On guard with the lions, we examined our parents: so easily
persuaded by other adults, dismissing our protests with half-smiles
then sending us to the front porch swing again. On crossed hearts
we swore we would grow up someday, if only to rescue our white
mansion from someone else’s hands. They offered us one last look.
With small hands, we waved goodbye to the windblown bench
and the roses drooping out of the window boxes and we drove home.

What Da Vinci Saw in Her

You said you would only know for sure once
you saw her in person, so you flew to the Louvre
and you saw her as he once did, sitting upright
all day against the wall, smiling so softly
at the crowd, not smiling to you,

and you thought:

she’s smaller than I expected but
not as small as I had imagined.

I had hoped you would be sure after
you saw her in person, when you returned home,
but you never look at me as you once did.
Last night I awoke to you crying so hard
you looked like you were laughing,

and I thought:

each of us is at best a study in perspective
with an incomprehensible aura and a mouth

cracking with time.