An angel robed in stainless steel
loomed piously above his bed.
It proffered neither rapturous death
nor life eternally supposed.
Its voice was his voice in his pain
—a whinging gasp, an engine noise.
It closed his loins into a sheath
held fast by buried nails, white spikes
redriven through his wasting joints
the moments when he cringed to stand.
The month before his mother’s death,
she’d hobbled from his guest room bed,
and left a single drop of blood
atremble on its metal frame.
He’d not seen then what wound had bled.
But now he knew how human flesh
must thin, and thin to such a breadth
the stainless touch of heaven cost
it life blood as a toll—and past
pain’s final sheathing leave it dead.