My Father Met an Angel

by Carolyn Oliver

My father met an angel
years ago I think in New York
& it troubles me, not
recalling more, not knowing
though there’s so much vital
I won’t know—how the lychee
tastes in your hot mouth
or what the sound of water
underfoot means in your dreams
or why you find pleasure
in certain kinds of violence
& even myself, I don’t know
why I haven’t laid down
my arms sooner, this morning
pulling on a crop top
the first I’ve ever worn
me thirty-seven, opened
& sewn up once already
why does it take me so long
to stretch toward splendor,
paint the kitchen blue as wings—
what I know of my father’s angel:
his man’s form vanishing
around an invisible corner.


Carolyn Oliver is the author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble (University of Utah Press, 2022), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Prize. Carolyn’s poems appear in The Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, Cincinnati Review, Psaltery & Lyre, Shenandoah, 32 Poems, Southern Indiana Review, Cherry Tree, Plume, DIALOGIST, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she is the editor of The Worcester Review. (Online:

Image: New York Public Library, “Waterfront, South Street, Manhattan. 1935”

1 thought on “My Father Met an Angel”

Comments are closed.