Jacob’s Angel

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To write poetry is to keep watch
over your dwelling in a dark forest:

It isn’t often that some creature
catches your eye — most nights pass
without as much as a rustling in the trees.
But when it does, it grabs you, wrestles
you to the ground, and demands something of you.
Sometimes a few pennies, sometimes a warm meal,
and sometimes, it seems, your very life.

Sometimes it is the angel, holding you
by the hip, tenderly but with a strong grip,
and it is your great privilege to hold it tightly
and whisper sharply between your teeth,
I will not let go until you bless me.
And only when this scrappy bandit
of a creature is speaking the words over you
as you hold a knife to its throat
do you realize, as the morning sun
is finding its way through the trees,
that you are staring yourself in the face.

Originally from upstate South Carolina, Mary Shelley Reid is a queer writer and seminarian currently residing in Princeton, New Jersey, where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. Reid also hold a B.A. from Furman University in Creative Writing and Religion. She is particularly interested in the intersection of poetry, spirituality, and identity, which is reflected in the pieces I’ve chosen to submit to Novus.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN