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What is an angel?

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What is an angel?

I was asked a question the other day.
A little girl, just around three,
She came up and asked me,
“What is an angel?”

No words came to my mouth,
For I had never thought about
Something like this before.
Angels were angels, right?

But the more I thought,
The more I came to understand.
Anyone could be an angel,
If you looked at them right.

I parted my lips to speak,
And I heard these words come from me,
“Angels are anyone out on the street.”
She blinked her naive eyes uncomprehendingly.

“To the old homeless man on the corner,
An angel is the person that stops and gives him
A listening ear, his next meal,
Or even just the time of day.”

“To an innocent man,
Convicted of another man’s sins,
An angel is the person that comes
To make amends.”

“To the family caught in flames,
An angel is the man that saves the day,
Risking his life to keep the flames at bay,
While another makes sure everyone is safe.”

“To a troubled kid too messed up
To clearly see the winding path,
An angel is the person that loves him
Enough to not have to ask.”

“To a quiet girl, with no friends,
Who never sheds a single tear,
An angel is someone that takes her away,
Someone that doesn’t have to hear.”

“An angel is someone that helps
Without asking for anything,
Not caring what they get in return.
Angels can be anyone, like you and me.”

When I spoke those words
I knew they were true.
I realized that there was
Nothing more I could do.

Was being an angel that easy to do?
Could I be one too?
Just by helping out an old man,
Or lending a helping hand?

The girl smiled, flashing her pearly whites,
Wrapping her arms around me.
“Do you know who my angel is?”
Probably a celebrity.

“You are my angel, Mommy.
Everyone one of those reasons and more.
Mommy, one question, please:
If you are an angel, why don’t you have wings?”

My heart stopped then and there.
Me, an angel? No there has to be a mistake.
But I had to answer her question,
So I summoned up the words to say,

“Honey, if every angel had wings,
Everyone could see.
Those without them would get
A little jealous, don’t you think?”

That night we were taking a bath,
Like all mothers and daughters do.
She rinsed off my back while babbling
When she suddenly gasped,

“See, Mommy, I told you!
All angels have wings!”
I twisted into the mirror to see
The strange image reflected back at me.

There, on my back, were the perfect outlines
For two small wings, one on each shoulder blade.
They were never there before.
They still are, to this very day.




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