Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Nancy Smiler Levinson

My Better Angel

No rose petal cheeks no white peach skin no holy mien or tiny gossamer wings she is fitted into stretch-waist jeans and gray-striped tee close in hue to my hair paper mask covers her lower face muffling her words fragmented thoughts as I walk the streets aimlessly filling time staving off muscle atrophy before returning to my place of shelter here framed faces uncovered all smiles husband deceased sons and grandchild living distances from me miles apart She sighs with me before the mirror frizzy out-of-control hair vain in isolation voicing what does it matter should I gorge on ice cream then scolds this must stop tomorrow and when I bristle at deep ills and rage at worlds on fire she accepts my soul breathes sweet air in me dances at my side in my kitchenette a duet of sorts as I cook chili while Bob Dylan sings his new album turns pages of my book Churchill’s Britain fighting the blitz war’s ravages yet what gorgeous English language We lament with friends on the telephone find wit, too, in satire and nonsense cross off my calendar day by day but at each day’s end she cannot answer me will I see my family will I ever feel the embrace of arms again we dialogue my angel and I often silently sometimes aloud my better angel closest friend in this lonely season

Nancy is author of Moments of Dawn: A Poetic Memoir of Love & Family, Affliction & Affirmation, as well as work that has appeared in Sleet, Poetica, Voice of Eve, Rat's Ass Review, Panoply, The Copperfield Review, Constellations, The Portland Review, many anthologies, and elsewhere. In past chapters of her life she published some thirty books for young readers, focusing on history and biography.