The Trombone Angels


The trombone angels have no teeth.
No ears.
Lips like a frozen kiss.
Their last dance was in the air,
ghost band hovering over the flames
at Auschwitz, Cambodia, Iraq.
Dressed in black raincoats,
they shuffle to fresh graveyards
and bone laden ditches,
feet cut and dirty.

What did they think
when they once flew,
ground rushing beneath them so fast?
Did they see gods reach
out to snatch soul from body
before flesh died?
Is that too much to believe?
Too much to hope for?

They blow a sweet tune
for those who no longer buy lies
from bible-rumped matrons
about lesser gods
for those not washed by Christ's blood
or chained to a catholic sainthood.
Those matrons claim we're all sinners.
They cast the first stones to prove it.

The wail of the trombones rises
as night tosses its net of stars.
A cock cries three times.
The silence from the graves is deafening.



Pris Campbell
2006

Published in The Cliffs: Soundings.

Art: Silence by Levy-Dhurmer


Named for the men who used to play behind the  horse-drawn caskets in the New Orleans streets



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