by Richard Levine
For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool,
and troubled the water: John, 5:4
I can’t baptize or immunize you
with my nod or smile, passing in this
pig-pink rural town, where your skin
is as double-take out-of-place
as the blood-colored tears
on a waxwing’s shoulders.
And you don’t need protection to walk
here, nor anyone’s approval. But you know,
easy as catching a cold or rain on cloudy days,
a chance of hate might be in your forecast
anywhere you go. And even if justice shines
on our back door someday, we’ll still need
an umbrella for that rain that falls on only one side
of a street, like a wall with loneliness on both.
Richard Levine, a retired NYC teacher, is the author of Selected Poems, Contiguous States, and five chapbooks. Now in Contest is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. An Advisory Editor of BigCityLit.com, he is the recipient of the 2021 Connecticut Poetry Society Award, and was co-editor of “Invasion of Ukraine 2022: Poems.” His review “The Spoils of War” is forthcoming from American Book Review. website: richardlevine107.com.