One Angel: Palazzo Arian, at San Raffaele Arcangelo

By Ann Snodgrass Ann Snodgrass

At San Raffaele Arcangelo

One angel got it all wrong.
She plopped into this
sad century feet first
in her dark clothes.
There wasn't much water
that winter—just a few
puddles really—
to break her fall.
Mud-splattered, she rose
and shook like a canine.
It didn't take long
to see her soaked wings
as a backdrop to all
the nonmagic to which we were
accustomed, or to see
what passed for history
as a forgetting of sorts.
(Was that one or two wars?)
Strange how, as she limped
down a dim vicolo,
some willful disc hovered
above her more florid
than a sky—how the putrid
puddles with their last
reflections could neither
correct nor register that light.

Source: Poetry (April 1999).


This poem originally appeared in the April 1999 issue of Poetry magazine

April 1999


Poet Ann Snodgrass studied at the University of Iowa and the Johns Hopkins University and earned her PhD from the University of Utah. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, she was awarded the Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize from the Academy of American Poets for her translation of Vittorio Sereni's poetry as well as the PEN American Center’s Renato Poggioli Translation Award. 

Snodgrass is the author of the poetry collection . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Faith & Doubt

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse, Metaphor

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