Her Duende and Guardian Angel Meet in an Alley

the day after Christmas.
Both wear black skullcaps
and matching hooded trench coats.

It’s hard to tell them apart
till they turn to face her window
two floors above.

The commotion is real.
The fear too. Why would anyone
pretend to be terrified?

Why wouldn’t they be identical
to her own desire
to become more than this

voyeur who hides
behind a partially closed blind
sipping skullcap tea

in a hooded cloak of her own?
Someone set fire to
the recycling bin,

or planted an explosive inside.
She didn’t hear it,
or smell it, or stop it

from overpowering daylit thoughts.
Castaway items have spilled out
the angry burn hole on the side:

scraps of used notebook pages,
empty yogurt containers,
a black suede, lace-up pump,

three copies of a pressure cooker
owner’s manual, not
a glass bottle in sight.

As they turn away, one of them
(she can no longer tell which)
begins to fold

sections of the Sunday paper
into human forms. Not flattened paper dolls holding hands.

Two independent ones
staring back
at her in 3D.

Only one of them
would dare do such a thing
before civil twilight.

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