(Ben Collins/Unsplash)

The master of the rebel angels let
them fall, their beating wings swept up
behind, forcing hot wind across
a crackled golden sky. They fell like dragonflies
at first, they glowed, but as they fell they
shrivelled, blackened, crisped into small
things, gnats or horseflies, cinders even,
motes of soot. They crashed into the world.
He turned his eyes away.
                                     Upstairs in heaven
things were orderly, the saints sat quiet
in their castled chairs, the air hummed
with an unsung hymn, the floor was clean
and cruel as glass and every feather, every
eye fixed in its bright perfection.

Maud Burnett McInerney teaches medieval literature at a small liberal arts college. Her work has previously appeared in Cleaver, Descant, and Witness.

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Published in the January 2023 issue: View Contents
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