Midnight Ministers – a poem by Marjorie Maddox

Midnight Ministers
“Are not all ministering spirits
sent out to serve…?” -Hebrews 1:14

Just like that—
we imagined later—
the quick flick of blue,
the sly leap of yellow,
the sharp prick of red
revving up into fiercer flames
and escaping from our
chipped brick chimney to our
cold 20’ x 20’ square of space,
rough floorboards where we
—only the night before—
huddled our child bodies
together for warmth while—
inches from our sleep-deprived
but truth-telling eyes—that specter,
muscled guardian of light—spread
like a shield his shimmering wings
before the dilapidated fireplace.

The next night of long-remembered,
only ash-left destruction,
after heat flung itself from floor
to curtains to outer door,
and the entire structure of our home
crumbled, we knew—though away
and unaware at that moment
of the blistering dangers of the hour—
yes, we knew as children know, the wide,
protective arms of angels, the blazing
gratitude of the saved.



Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize, Lock Haven University English Professor Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation and True, False, None of the AboveWhat She Was Saying(prose); children’s books; Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor). See www.marjoriemaddox.com

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