Jane Zwart

The Angels’ Share and Poem Without a Title
January 24, 2024 Zwart Jane

The Angels’ Share


Over distilleries’ rooftops, angels tipple
on cocktails of air, on whiskey eking
through the oak into the pink. The sky
is spiked with fumes.


Of many things,
the angels own shares; theirs are the sounds
trees make in the woods, falling far from
homo sapiens’ ears; theirs the spectra
of invisible light and the dander blown kisses
shed en route to kids’ foreheads.


But you cannot, by turning down the last
taper of cake, lure a seraph to ground.
The angels’ share is the fraction—terrestrial,
miracle—of matter beyond human having.



Poem Without a Title


Sometimes you need
the container
that does not call
attention to itself.
Ask the artist


assembling a rose
window. He prays
no one will take notice
of the lead


goggles that keep
God’s glass eyes
from ruin. Ask the few
who go further,
the few who pray
for the sun
to melt its vase,
its vessel; who pray
for the glass itself
to all but vanish,


flammable, the cellophane
of God’s judgment.


Other times you need
the container that is
conspicuously plain.


Nothing to see here,
says the poem
without a title, which
is how we know


to look. I have no words,
the eloquent write,
which is, of course,
both a lie


and a prayer
for God to call
their apophatic bluff.


Jane Zwart teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, and Plume, as well as other journals and magazines. She also writes book reviews, and she has published edited versions of onstage interviews with writers including Zadie Smith, Amit Majmudar, and Christian Wiman.