Four Poems | Tim Kahl

The Little Angel


There was one little angel with a tricked-out wing that hung

on the tree. Every year it got stuck in the back and stared

at the wall. There are too many milkweed pod birds on this

damn thing, the angel cried, and birds weren’t even part of

the manger scene. The little angel doesn’t know that birds are

everywhere, but they get no coverage in the media.

She is only concerned once again no one will see the nice pleats

in her robe. She carries her Christian name through many more

Christmases, coveting attention. But God doesn’t want her in heaven —

too many complaints. And the devil’s afraid she’ll take over the place.

Screen Adaptation


The book is a mind surging through the world. A movie

is a glittering after-effect, but so much more cost

in producing it. Therefore, it seeks to please the crowd.

There will be no tales of exterminated Namas and Hereros,

of the forced enemas for diamond workers suspected of

hidden gems. These horrors and more always come

to me first in print. The word carries freight

the image cannot bear because there is no light.

A film is perfect for sexless creatures trapped inside

a morality play. The book thinks its way through the night.

Sentence Doctor


I offered to administer a semi-colon in case of emergency,

but no one was in need of my services. The skills of

a proofreader are a luxury. Any kind of sentence doctor

is equivalent to a blood-letter today. Prepare the leeches

for those who have been trained to immediately

respond. They prefer a shock to any kind of idle time.

But there’s an alarm going off in the middle of their

lives during the time they should be reading. Instead,

they are video messaging a friend about their recovery.

They’re all worn out, unable to punctuate their schedules with pause.

Prayer Worker


My cousin’s husband has died and the rabbi is playing

a singing bowl and chanting Kaddish. This is a family of

evangelicals, so this must be another silly dream,

which is confirmed when the rabbi, mistaking my

boredom for grief, comes over and hugs me

and tells me I have a friend in Jesus. I want to

tell him I don’t want any more friends; I have dogs instead.

Then I decide that would be unprofessional and drop my

station to that of a lowly blue collar prayer worker who

sends out calm words and healing vibes over the phone lines.


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