On Being An Angel

By Angela T. Carr,


After Francesca Woodman, Angel Series (1977)


To fly, a girl

must first roll out from under the musk sour of flesh

must will her bones to bear her weight on dusty floorboards

must drag the yellowed linen from the bed of her unmaking

must salt warp and weft, temper the promiscuity of blood

must cut out the shape each wing, thread notch and barb

must bleach in lye and sunlight, make them lucid, snow

must soap them on limestone, plunge in scalding water

must wear the skin of her hands as drab pink gloves

must wring them dry in a crank-handled mangle

must press them in hissing tongues of iron

must razor her scalp, become a fledgling

must blade the skin from her shoulders

must sear it for the long work of stitching

must empty

the room of her voice

the room of her breath

the room of her shadow

of all but the

wallpaper’s curl.


This poem was originally published in The Lonely Crowd Issue 10 (2018).