— archangel of death
He saw it again yesterday, just a flicker, his imagination surely tricking around. When the traffic light turned he crossed the street, not thinking of his daughter, how she’d clap her hands when the red-tailed hawk sat on the edge of their building. And just this morning, he thought he heard something but it was only some pigeons gathered like monks in the square, pecking at the cement, praying for more bread. At lunch he felt the wind push at him, turbulent as a small plane gone down, but found no evidence. No feathers, no devastated pedestrians. Just a whiff of brimstone. Could’ve been the food cart, could’ve been the cars. Later he remembered his daughter used to press sticker-angels into the margins of her notebooks, each one a different color. Some looked like they were about to swoop off the edge into nothing. He’d ask why their wings glittered just to hear her giggle and explain how they needed the sparkle to fly, like fairy dust. Sometimes the light caught on them so brightly it was like staring into the sun. He had to look away. And now he’s seeing wings on the buildings, sunset stretching reflections into transcendent curves for a split-second. White-gold feathers shining like her hair and he thinks it’s just a hawk, like the one she loved, but isn’t certain. And it’s nearly gone, anyway, an apparition swerving then dropping into the chronic dark.
— archangel of harmony, punishes angels who have transgressed, sometimes considered a demon
He thought they were safe but when his father broke in, slamming the door open so hard its knob pierced the wall, there was no disguising anything. He finished the kiss before turning, his boyfriend trembling, mom already crying as his father flung soccer trophies at them, the dresser suddenly, strangely naked in the commotion. He ducked the flying metal but in the hallway a hundred porcelain angels rattled on their shelves, wings smashing together so that some fell over, pale faces cracking into frowns, so much more fragile than flesh. His boyfriend scrambled off the bed behind him, tried to button his shirt against the wrath, but he didn’t bother, didn’t even try to stand up against his father’s fascination with sin. He didn’t speak at all, not when his dad grabbed his arms, not when his head hit the wall and everything went dark and spotted until the only thing left was his father’s queer face, mouth stretched, teeth strangely pointed. He thought he heard someone praying but couldn’t make out the words. Thought he heard footsteps but couldn’t follow, couldn’t move until the sound of wings staggered his body and lips pressed on his in a kiss so tender the bewilderment vanished forever.
— angel of passion and sexuality
She leaned in, stopping as shadows flew across the yard, a thousand and one blackbirds dashing over the green. He touched her cheek anyway, fingers warm as comfort. Then he closed the distance and kissed her as though the flock out there was ordinary, like every day a cloud of birds animated the grass and flowers, their doppelgangers sooty in the sunlight, specks of darkness flitting across the yard like so many fervent angels. His breath stopped at her lips, then dove into the forest of her body as she closed her eyes against his love. He murmured to her, gathered her close, the afternoon suddenly more daunting than any spring day ever was before because of this. Birds flickering overhead, oblivious. She opened her mouth to listen better, his tongue licking hers into sweetness while two thousand and two wings soared above their heads in the ridiculous silence. And when he grabbed her by the waist he lifted her off the ground until they flew into each other and she realized that she loved him enough to fall.