Ordinary Angels (& other poems)

by Michael Cunningham

“Honey, I wet myself.”

Her son hears the words
and goes to the bedroom.

There are medicine bottles
on brown the night stand.

Red cylinder plastic, some standing
others lying open mouthed.

The smell is what hits him first
a wall of sour stink. But he grabs

his mother’s waist

helps her out of her pants
changes her.

He was her baby, now she is his.

He is no superman. No hero.
Won’t make the evening news.

He is an ordinary angel.

Middle aged, a bad back, bald,
a beer gut, with bills to pay.

He is ordinary. The guy on the subway
you see but never talk to.

He is you and me.

All ordinary angels.


Sandra: Jamaica Station

Sandra lay on the subway floor. The needle mark still visible. Her pants slightly down, exposing her panties, which were covered in muck.

She looked at the ceiling. Eyes wide. I wish I knew, she thought.
Sandra gazed down at her arm. Her veins like broken down roads on her brown skin.

“I graduated from Yale.” she said to no one. It came out like a whisper in the empty subway station.

“Please may this be the one.” She said, “Let this be the one that kills me.”

Tears began to stream down her face. Tiny waterfalls over her broken lips.