POETRY

ON EARTH, AS IT IS

An example of what carries angels aloft

is painted on a brick wall next to an auto body shop.

 

You only have to stand against it for a few seconds,

and faster than anyone’s oil gets changed

 

there you’ll be: transformed from a mere mortal

into a guardian, even if you’re not sure whose,

 

or maybe into a kind of messenger, even if 

the only news you’ve heard lately has been bad.

 

Your lover photographs you to preserve the illusion,

but it’s up to you to try and embody it,

 

to let your shoulder blades arch inward like 

you were ready to return and report back

 

about the way they had created cars to take 

them anywhere, but seemed to get nowhere,

 

and that they’d stopped being awed that the engine

usually worked, or that they could slake its thirst

 

with what they could draw out of the very Earth;

and that they no longer bowed down in fright,

 

no longer asked questions; how some just stood 

around sighing and rolling their eyes if they bothered 

 

to look at you at all; but that there were also others,

like the lover whose every action demonstrates 

 

she belongs in the clouds as much as she does here,

who took your picture as though you might 

 

suddenly vanish; you, who allowed yourself 

to lean back a bit and rest against the expanse

 

of everything behind you, eyes glancing up

in gratitude for the sun distantly haloing your head,

 

for the knowledge you have an opportunity 

to get back up, even if you’ve occasionally fallen,

 

and the freedom to ease yourself away from the wall,

walking as though there’s nowhere you’d fear to tread.

Shane Schick's poems have been published in literary journals across Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Africa. He is the founder of a publication about customer experience design called 360 Magazine. He lives in Toronto. More: shaneschick.com/poetry. Twitter: @ShaneSchick.