The Angels of Gloucester

In Gloucester, the angels come together
in hospitals, churches, kitchens, they laugh and cry
in each other’s arms. Once they were dirt
whores, carried by the winds of bad chance

into dark hallways, virus-strewn streets,
offered themselves to wasted men and other
cracked demons to buy death on hard-time payments.
Their spirits forgot the words to the ancient

sister songs and their children were ripped
from them. Cramped and alone, these women
cowered in dark basements, fell to their knees before
lesser gods in hell’s hotels, died and were

burned, their ashes swept away with a bitter tide. Everything
changes. They become sisters, walk an ancient path now, join hands
at signs of trouble, hug each other’s children, knit
their families into hot strong blankets with threads

of prayer. The men watch.