Walking through a field with my little brother Seth

I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.

He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.

Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.

I didn't know where I was going with this.

They were on his property, I said.

When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.

Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.

We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.

But why were they on his property, he asked.

—David Berman

Rights & Access

from Actual Air, 1999
Open City Books, New York

Copyright 1999 by David Berman.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Open City Books. Copyright 1999 by David Berman. For further permissions information contact Joanna Yas at Open City Books, (212) 625-9048 or editor@opencity.org

  • David Berman

    David Berman (1967-2019) is the author of the poetry collection Actual Air, published by Open City Books in 1999. He was also founder of the band The Silver Jews.