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By William Logan

What did they desire, the dead who had returned?

The sons who had inherited their estates

pretended not to know them. The iron gates

were welded shut, but soon the dead had learned


to hire lawyers practiced in the laws

that bound the afterlife to lesser gods.

The angels thundered on like piston rods,

denying their gold wings to either cause.


The city streetlamps flared like learnèd ghosts.

The moon turned red. Beneath a scrim of clouds,

Spanish moss draped the myrtle trees like shrouds—

in politics the guests became the hosts.


Those days made angels of the better sort.

The cases languished in a lower court.


Source: Poetry (March 2019)

  • Living

Poet Bio

William Logan
William Logan is the author of seven books of poetry. He has also published four books of essays and reviews, including The Undiscovered Country, which won the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. He edited the expanded edition of Randall Jarrell’s Poetry and the Age and co-edited, with Dana Gioia, Certain Solitudes: On the Poetry of Donald Justice. Among his other honors are the Corrington Medal for Literary Excellence and the Randall Jarrell Award in Criticism. He teaches at the University of Florida. See More By This Poet

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