Three Polaroid Pictures Of Astonishing Clarity

picture # 1. dope-house, 1977

in this one he is standing in the hallway 
illuminated by a bare bulb in the ceiling.
 the bulb is casting a shadow that nearly obscures his entire face. 
his hair is as white as milk 
his skin the color of an old copper coin:

in the play of harsh light falling 
 upon his immense shoulders
 the stumps where his wings were 
are prominent.

picture #2. viet-nam, 1968

this is an intelligence photo taken the day i got to viet-nam: 
it shows a crashed huey gunship and it’s bugeyed crew
 who swore to a man that they’d been attacked by a gigantic bird

escaped by the skin of their teeth, they said.

one of the crew is standing next to the fuselage pointing to something 
and if you follow the gesture you’ll see a feather lodged in the crumpled metal
; I know it looks like a white decal but it’s a goddam feather, trust me.

the angel shrugged when i showed him the photograph
 but over the years he developed an obscure phobia towards 
 helicopters that defies any explaination but the obvious one.

picture #3. okinawa, 1964

my father snapped this one:

The angel is sitting on a log in a verdant green forest,
 his ancient sword is stabbed into the ground
 in front of him.

sunlight is dripping through the trees 
and falling upon the blade of the great weapon like 
bright molasses and for nearly its entire length 
the sword is revealed in all it's archaic detail.

My father:

my father fought in three wars; two tours in 
viet-nam alone, in bad places like pleiku and the 
 central highlands and other places too. he was a taciturn, 
 guarded man who never wept openly until he chanced to take
 a picture of the angel as it rested there upon the green log, 
suffused with divine power, it’s sword a sliver of frozen lightening leaping out of the ground near it’s hand. 
 The angel:

he is staring directly into the camera and if you look 
deeply like my father did you will see the jungle 
and the fiery sword and maybe even God Himself

all reflected in his beautiful eyes

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