There are others left behind who still believe in angels. We gather on moonless nights in dark living rooms, faces half-hidden in shadow, flickering in brief spasms of ritual light, not to plan a revolt but to drum, chant, throat-sing and recite from memory what we can only remember together. Now and then we harmonize, our song rippling out in benign contagion to sift dust and detritus from the remains of what was built before, ringing deserted temples with blunt clappers.
From where they wait in their dispassion, high above the stricken armor, untainted by mortal concerns, invested in big banks and accumulating wealth, minor gods walk through gated communities, marking time in lesser heaven, untouched by longing. They keep us under surveillance, while plotting our future as market mules who never tug too hard on their tether.
When was the last uprising on the feedlot? The prize beef squat on garnish putting on the pounds.
You carry the genes of galactic knights and those who walk with the aid of their hands, your bones are made of both stardust and testosterone, now worth so-much-a-pound, left behind among the poorly evolved, cut-off from all beyond this world, no longer open to broadcasts from the stars.
You live on the earth now, safe within your orbit, spinning on your axis, tilting toward the sun. What is native in you infiltrates the flesh with phobias and flaws, viruses and vices, lays down roots over uneven ground even as your bruised knuckles part drifting continents.
The feats of still living heroes pass into legend. You listen for voices in the wind, unable to verify the vague generic prophesies channeled complete with ultimatums through unqualified receivers who never graduated from mystery school.
When the missionaries they send down don’t return, they send others, their eagle-eyes crossing like headlights, minds shuttered from all but black and white.
There must be billions of us left stunned and blinking, blinded by their artifice, yet mere millions who learn to dress in layers and curate the moon in their eyes, holding communion in dark living rooms to cobble together a fragile ground out of the moving morass of paradox.
You had to let her go. She will come back one day, you keep telling yourself, sitting on the edge of an unmade bed in a blue motel somewhere off the lost highway, having taken an off-ramp that never leads back on. The cheap painting of a seascape fades into the wall, its waves stilled at the breaking point in muted moonlight. Dreams like shadows fall into their objects. All you have left after her frantic flutter is the impossible impression of a trapped bird embossed on a double-paned window.