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For the first time, the angels sleep. They perch in trees
above the river where the women wash.
Drunk on the angels' mulled breath,
the women wrap wet linen
around their hips and spin, the angels' snores
buzzing in their bones. They pound the dirt flat,
the earth humming, a beehive beneath their feet.
Mary pirouettes, whirls and shimmers,
her unbound hair eddies through the air
as though she is still a virgin. The child crouches piggyback
on an angel's shoulder, his hands twined
in the angel's mane. None of the women see them,
and he laughs. Ollie, ollie, oxen free,
he's safe. The angels dream of clay pots,
hot ground meal and asses' milk. They dream of sleeping,
their bodies curled around each other like snuffling, drooping puppies.
Heaven has yet to exist.