guardian angels who are young and green and uncertain, in over their head from the moment of their charge is born (all that screaming and blood and yet the mother smiles through her tears, kisses the forehead of the small, squalling thing and they don’t understand but they feel the flaring of a new-born soul, and there is something there, something sensed slantwise and true)
guardian angels whose hearts leap into their throats when this infant falls asleep against the curve of their palm, when it grabs at their fingers and burbles happy noises that mean foodlovehomesafe. (it will never occur to these angels, so green and new, that they are partly responsible for the love-longing that humanity chases all its life) Guardian angels who rock their infant humans in their arms, whispering stories of earth’s early seas and distant supernovas and the antics of their brothers, letting the child gum at the sleeve of their robe.
guardian angels who fall in love, transcendentally and hopelessly—learning to bruise, to have their hearts broken; learning to ride a bike and fall and get up again (no one ever taught angels how to rise.) guardian angels standing, stiff and uncertain, in bedrooms as their charges cry bitterly, uncertain how to apologize for the world they still do not understand, may never understand.
(guardian angels at hospital beds guardian angels in operating theaters guardian angels in warzones and beside car accidents and no longer green or new but uncertain, always uncertain, their transcendental hopeless love splintering in their chests)
because guardian angels cannot always protect you from the world (these are the terms of the contract—humanity wanted free will) but they can shadow your footsteps and wrap you in the brightness of their wings, praying that this is enough.
(guardian angels are not young, or green, or uncertain when they have lived a lifetime at someone’s side—the loving transmutes all to gold.)