The Hastily Assembled Angel on Care and Vitality

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The hastily assembled angel watches

From the air he watches  from that point in the air

Where years from now the apex of the pyra-

mid he is watching being  built will be

Invisibly  he watches as slaves roll

Huge stones from the quarry to the pyramid the

Slave who invented  the method for moving

The stones is dead  the stones  that were too big

For human beings to move  the angel saw

The slave was killed for  attempting to correct

The implementation of his method  which

The Egyptian engineers had not at first

Completely understood  though even as

His dark blood made the dirt beside them dark

They saw the first board buckle  beneath the weight

Of the first stone  fortunately the slave had

Explained his method often to his fellow

Slaves  and they could when they were ordered to

Silently make it work the angel sees the

Slaves serve their masters most  efficiently

When they aren’t talking to each other  but

They serve their masters most  quickly just after

They have devised a plan to kill their masters

Shane McCrae teaches at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Gilded Auction Block.

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 September 1

“We whose Names are underwritten . . . Covenant and Combine our selves together into a Civil Body Politick, for our better ordering. . .

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