“some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2)

JIM FRIEDMAN

A scent of something in the room,
a truth they know, though unspoken,
hovering between them,
man and angel (almost his twin);
argued silence like a broken
bottle letting loose its djinn.

Words have gone without their saying,
a feint of music on the rim
of sense; shadows playing
over walls – like pencil-rubbings on
the paper. There, reflections skim
a scribbled, silver Rubicon.

Angel and man, resting in chairs,
opposite each other, yes and no;
an abacus of glares
flicking back and forth while they halt
their exchange of fluids: the flow
of sweat, spit, tears, baptismal salt.

Out of nowhere there’s surrender;
the angel like an overcoat
covering his slender
body. The man’s sore shoulders go slack,
feeling wings settle; mote by mote
of snow alighting on his back

tranquillo: shoulder-blades of thin,
warm glass on which the angel melts,
trickling down a nubbed spine.
Henceforth…the word seems fitting for
what comes after bruises and welts,
beyond sleep, and the room’s closed door.

“some have entertained angels unawares” by Jim Friedman was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2017) judged by Oz Hardwick

Jim Friedman was born in London but has lived for most of his life in Nottingham. He taught English at Loughborough University with special interests in contemporary poetry and medieval studies. He had a second career as a relationship counsellor and supervisor with Relate. Since retiring he has started writing poetry again after a forty-year break.