Questions About Angels

by Jeanne M.

Usual: Characters? NOT MINE. Money? NONE MADE. Poem and inspiration for the title belongs to Billy Collins. Sugar Bombs belong to whomever is fool enough to claim them. This is just a little short written for fun that was inspired by an English project. Onwards!

"...She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over to glance at his watch because she has been dancing forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians." She shut the book, glanced down at the two small boys watching her from their sleeping bags with wide eyes, and grinned. "And I think it is now very late, even for two little punks who ate the last of my Sugar Bombs. C'mon on you two, it's time for lights-out." She scrambled over the toys and comic books littering the floor of the treehouse, laughing at the requests for one more story, and tucked blankets securely around each small figure. "Night night!" She turned to climb down the ladder, when a small voice called her name.

"What's an angel?" She turned to see them sitting up and looking at her intently. A picture hung in the air of herself with tiny feathered wings and a halo that kept slipping. "Artie and Leech want to know what an angel is."

"Wow. That's a big question for such little dudes." She slipped back to sit between them. "Well, um, gee. I don't really know either. Some people say that angels are good people who died and now watch over and protect us. Other people say that angels were never alive like us, but were created by some higher power to be eternal guardians. I know a few who would say angels don't even exist. 'Angel' means different things to different people." The girl pushed her bangs out of her eyes and sighed. "What do you think an angel is?"

A new hologram appeared in the air, this one of a cartoon devil and angel arguing silently, and the angel began hitting the devil over the head with her halo. She looked at it for a moment, and began laughing. "Well, someone's been watching tv again."

"Leech wants to know if Analee is an angel."

Bright blue eyes met large white ones. "Why do you ask, Leech?"

" 'Cause sometimes Leech feels like he did when Analee hugged him, and he feels like she's there. Leech wants to know if Analee is an angel."

"You miss her bunches, don't ya, little dude?" A teary nod was her only response. "I know that Analee took good care of you, and she loved you very very much. I think she counts as an angel." She pulled them into a giant hug, holding them tight. "I think she most definitely counts."

"Is your mommy an angel, Jubilee?"

She froze, uncertainty clouding the normally crystalline eyes. "I don't know kid, I don't know." Jubilation Lee pulled out of the hug, giving the Artie and Leech a wiry grin. "As touching as this is, it's bedtime. Please? I need my beauty sleep too." Artie tugged at her sleeve, and she saw a picture forming of him holding her book. "You want to keep the book tonight, is that it?"

"Please? Leech and Artie like Jubilee's book. The words sound pretty."

She caressed the book's cover gently, sad eyes taking in the worn spine and tattered cover. "Okay, but ya gotta promise that you'll take good care of it. It's super-special to me."

"Leech will take good care of Jubilee's book. Even better than Angelo's comics!"

Mirth fought with seriousness on her face. "So Ange has been reading you guys his comic collection again, huh?" Two serious nods answered her, and a small smile tugged at the corners of her face. "If you're going to take that good care of it, I'll let you keep it for a week." Jubilee stood up, and paused in the treehouse door. "Night guys. Don't stay up too late." With that, she was down the ladder and off into the grotto.

Artie looked at his friend questioningly, and Leech nodded happily. The two children got up, and ran to the window to watch her glide silently through the vegetation towards Penny, apple in hand.

"Leech thinks Artie was right." And they sat down to look at the special book, with a holographic Jubilee rollerblading around the room, wings outstretched and halo tipping into her eyes.

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance of the regular mailman and
whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.
The only question you ever hear is about
the little dance floor on the head of a pine
where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

"Questions About Angels" is by Billy Collins, and it's use here is for entertainment only.