An angel chooses a chocolate by Fokkina McDonnell

An angel chooses a chocolate

The chalky terracotta wall with mildew patches
has bled into her long, shapeless dress.
This woman mothered too many sons,
this would-be Saint of Obesity.
The single chocolate rests in her right hand,
shielded from the sun by the other hand.

Her neighbour in the blue dress offers
the square box to the angel, sitting
to her left on a wooden stool.
This woman has short hair, stocky feet,
late-afternoon ginger shadows on her chin.
She is the Madonna of Reassignment.

Stiff wings point forward like sails,
the angel’s nose is the beak of a hawk.
His wings and gown have turned
blue-grey. A long dusty road,
but he carries these shadows lightly
and points politely, with a bent finger.

(Note: after the painting by Karolina Larusdottir)


Fokkina McDonnel’s poems have been widely anthologised, successful in competitions, and published in a range of magazines including Orbis, Magma, The North, Poetry News, Little Mslexia, erbacce, and Strix. Her debut collection, Another life, was published by Oversteps Books in 2016. Her second collection, Nothing serious, nothing dangerous, will be published by IDP this year.


2 thoughts on “An angel chooses a chocolate by Fokkina McDonnell”

  1. I very much enjoyed reading this Fokkina and it sent me on an internet hunt to find the painting. I didn’t find this specific one but at least discovered an artist I did not know. The works I found have great charm.

  2. I too enjoyed the poem, and also hunted for the original image. I am captivated by the unique, (but I think readily identifiable as north-Nordic) paintings by Karolina Larusdottir. I wondered whether this image had been a prompt for the poem?

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