A Very Mary Variation 

A Golden Shovel poem using a line from Mary Oliver’s “The World I Live In” – “only if there are angels in your head will you ever possibly see one”


only one child matters 

if death is imminent and

there is no other voice allowed? 

are you honoring her others? 

angels appear as demons and vice-versa

in the surreal fog of illness, and

your chosen one is no angel whose

head is not thinking with heart, who

will not allow a taste of sugar or drugged slumber;

you perpetuate her suffering – have you 

ever stopped and considered that quite 

possibly her hell is not about your getting to 

see fleeting glimpses of her former self from a cage of 


one cancerous regret can later overtake 

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