Last night I saw angels
sitting in the church pews,
arms draped across the balcony.
I should like to ask God if,
after that long journey downward,
they couldn't bear to float
the few extra steps to our level.

Or maybe they feared
they might be contaminated by the wails
of the child in the arms of his mother
where she cooed desperately in his ear,
the laughter of the boys who congregated in the back,
the crude drawings they scrawled there.

Their voices joined ours on every hymn,
though some louder than others,
the better singers jutting out their chests
and belting with such force I thought for sure
that a churchgoer would turn their head
to see the commotion, but perhaps they
did not listen like I did, or at any rate, I
have never heard what seems to reach their ears.

Not once did I quite catch
a glimpse of those translucent faces,
ever-shifting in the light where it streamed in
from stained glass windows, unusually bright
for an evening service.