Near the Norwood Station
Upstairs, angels are waiting in the heat. There is a lot of waiting upstairs, a lot of everything. Smoke drifts up the stairwell from far below. Gabriel knows smoke well. He sits, fiddling with the tip of his right wing while all those garbled prayers from packed bingo basements rise past him like startled birds.
Somewhere down in the middle I am sitting in the same train my father rode home from work every day for twenty-five years. I have been downtown with two fat girls. Several shameful nights in a darkened hotel room overlooking an alley. I'm in a transitional period, I told them.
No one speaks. In a seat across the aisle from me two women are facing one another, knitting a child from a skein of yarn. They work without looking up, the shiny flat caps of their needles circling above their hands, knees touching beneath the unformed torso that sags across them. I've made a promise to myself to begin praying again as soon as I'm not desperate. The older one has nearly finished the head, and I can hear the faint hives of language busy inside.