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Angel Song

Clare Pollard

This fir-tree point could impale.

I balance on it, praying for still skies.

Fingertip bulbs in cracked coloured cases

Fuse, and threaten to burn my skirts.


Shiny red apples decompose on nooses.

Pine cones are sprayed with crunched-mirror glitter.

Sometimes it is thrilling,

This sparkle, this lack of roots.


Only the others hate me. Cry out

That I am no better than them,

It’s just my wings are sprayed with old gold

And a halo on a pin skewered through my scalp.


But I earned that jet of golden paint!

I suffered as the pin pierced my soft plastic head,

And unlike them, I cannot make mistakes.

An imperfection and I will be torn from this tree.


I cannot be bitter like a gift of myrrh,

Or they’ll say: “Who does she think she is?

Tied to a spike as if it’s a crucifixion.”

I am a seasonal decoration,


Pretty - but I will not bring salvation.

Tinsel is not real silver, you know,

Just foil that moults off in strips;

And nobody can join me up here.


What am I but a detail in this small beige room?

An afterthought in an outfit made of

Someone’s old wedding dress. These needles

Bring not sleep, just little hurts.


O, to have a Bethlehem to go to.

To be deep filled, like a mince pie.

Father Christmas, give me wings that work.

I am so tired of trying to rival snowflakes.


From Magma No 9 (Spring 1997)