Studies of an Angel by Katherine DiBella Seluja

 The angel coveted the roof of the house she was assigned to. Her chest pressed against the tarry surface, her arms wrapped protectively around the parapet. Her hands on the viga stubs that protruded below the roof line. The humming sound of family life reverberated her ear. She was smitten. At night, she relaxed her hold a bit. At noon, she escalated the movement of her wings, sending a current of cool air rolling over the home. The house was hers for thirty days, well technically twenty-eight. But she always hung around for an extra day or two to make sure the soul was firmly settled into the newborn body.
 The angel coveted the roof of the house. This was it. She had been doing fly overs for months. Now, as she draped her body over plaster and wood, the fresh smell of amniotic fluid engulfed her. She sensed the mother’s milk ducts expanding. Millennia of neonatal guarding had taught her the need for intense focus due to the tenuous hold of the soul in a newborn body. If one slipped out before its time, she could usually trace it to her loss of concentration. The slightest distraction and that soul could squeeze out of any available aperture. Early in her tenure, she hadn’t known the free floaters could be so wily. Generally, a soul was accepting of its new position. But every so often, one came along that was in love with the free form adventure and had no interest whatsoever in pulling on the robe of blood and bone again.

Winner of the Southwest Writers Poetry Award, Katherine DiBella Seluja is a nurse practitioner and a writer. Her poetry collection, Gather the Night (UNM Press, 2018)focuses on the impact of mental illness and is dedicated to her older brother, Lou. She is co-author of  We Are Meant to Carry Water, with Tina Carlson and Stella Reed.  Forthcoming in 2019 from 3: A Taos Press, this is a collaborative response to the 2016 presidential election


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