Friday, April 30, 2010

Pope Pius V (patron of Valletta, Malta)

I’m always lurching towards the next

big thing, with eyes like doorknobs

and a mouth like a neat pink ribbon.

I dream that I’m fainting, falling

to the hardwood floor. The ocean spills

out of my mouth and my limbs go numb.

I reach out to the orange coils on the stove,

retreat. Repeat. Water raises up to the surface

of my skin and I let it out with a pin.

I am a well. I keep tiny smokestacks

in a gold coinpurse. I light them

when I think I’m almost there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

St. Catherine of Siena (patron against fire, bodily ills, miscarriages)

our future is nothing but apple crates

full of rose petals. these silken tongues

teach us how to kiss. & then crumble

on our sharp teeth. remember: you take the bleach

to your hair, not to your mouth. eat nothing but

Christ-as-flattened-moon. drink nothing but

water from those lakes on the moon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St. Louis de Montfort

we are snow pushed to the side,

wrinkled blueberries clinging to

our tiny vine.

we’re still looking. we tear out

the hems of favorite dresses.

unravel the carpet. maybe

that floorboard shakes loose.

look between the rings of

my tree. they are worthy

of belief.

all the beauty I owned sparked

at the curled ends of my hair.

I cut it off, grew greys like


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

St. Peter Armengol

I see you running. Your legs

tear through the air, leave silk

tattered in their wake.

I knew you’d run. As we rolled over

in bed, I saw the signature curve

of your outlaw mouth.

A bandana could never keep it dark.

Your teeth shine through fabric,

generate their own suns.

They will hang you, but it will not

kill you. I imagine your homecoming.

I run my fingers over the permanent

twist in your neck. I cannot believe

this resurrection.

Monday, April 26, 2010

St. Anacletus

maybe I’m just like that girl

with the rings under her eyes.

the one you said you’d never kiss

again. she threw the pillows

and all the sheets out the window.

everything fell into a bed of

the darkest tulips.

she told me that you called down

and asked her to come back up,

undress, and lie there as if

all that sound

never happened.

you pressed your lips

to the back of her neck.

I shudder just thinking about it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

St. Mark (patron of barristers & Venice)

your voice looks into me

with three dark eyes.

one of them is glass

and I can’t tell which.

this lion I know opened his

glittering mouth and asked me

to place my head inside. his spit

soaked my hair and I was not afraid.

I split from that morning

I woke up in your bed naked.

a streak of light brighter than

red cherries in a white cup.

I heard that the angels are jealous.

joy is to you what heartache is to me.

have you confused my relics

with someone who doesn’t know

the weight of these bones?

the holes full of stars in my teeth?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

when the wind stopped blowing,

I stood up, brushed the pollen

away from the curve of my hip.

have I told you that I dream

you are a shepherd? I am a sheep

and you skin me.

I leave behind

piles of earthy clouds.

I can’t say that I didn’t

see this coming. I don’t know

how to hold you or anything else.

when a volcano comes to town,

there’s enough ash to cover the sun.

I keep sleeping because

there is no light to wake me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

St. George (patron of England)

Saint George, restore me

to my senses.

All I have is the lonely arc

of what’s left:

a tin of shoe shine,

a bundle of slender matches,

my paper-airplane skin.

I reach up and under

your curtain. I can see

right into the middle-school

gym across the street.

It is full of balloons.

I pray to you as if

God is spun sugar.

My voice is bruised

after being battered

by all those birds.

Can you hear me?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Agapitus of Palestrina (invoked against colic)

bee stings get louder,

rattle their way into our cars.

it is hot enough in here

to crack eggs on our thighs.

this world is soft-boiled.

one little puncture,

and its whole heart spills out.

if it’s early evening,

it’s time for a good cry.

what’s love?

what’s love?

what turns up in the dark?

this harp inside of me

won’t stop wailing.

he goes to kiss me

and tastes nothing but salt.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

St. Anselm of Canterbury

"Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand.

For this, too, I believe, that, unless I first believe, I shall not understand." -St. Anselm


her cheeks are white apples,

browning in the fevered sun.

if it swells, you’ll have to come back,

she said, needle in hand.

this is what it takes to get the shards out.

open wild, she says.

your tumbling roof

is dangerous.

I know we all must fall asleep.

I know there are paths

through the woods

that I do not know.

she leans out of my attic window.

my heart is a sinkhole. I fall in.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pope Marcellinus

I think my love for you began

when all our books were destroyed.

The words were gone, so I read

your face instead. I asked you to tell me

about the ocean. Your eyes whispered

of kelp that dances in the deep.

Your brow of the ship that always seems

to lie beneath. Your nose spoke of fins

that brush your thighs so lightly, while

your mouth was a reef in and of itself.

Monday, April 19, 2010

St. Aphege

He says that the curl in my hair says come here,

so I lean into him like fistful of thunder.

My teeth whiten. My body says show him

those blueberries hidden in the hems,

the peaches beneath that blouse.

And so I do. This season made of

bedsprings tells me to, and so I do.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

St. Marie of the Incarnation

before I was born,

several other children

had seen the light of day

but all died in their infancy.

mother’s heart leapt

into a cruel famine.

I tumbled off of a horse,

broke bones I didn’t know


The white splinters turned

to paper, folded themselves

into cranes

and flew.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

St. Stephen Harding, author of "The Charter of Love"

The old Rite Aid is now

a haunted house. It instructs

us to feel the silver weight

of fear.

I moved home. I stare into

the gleaming mouth of the

abandoned train tunnel and

see only feathers.

The life that could have been

mine flashes before me over

my morning coffee. She is giving

up an ocean for him.

She holds my slender kitten

in her lap, looks nothing like me.

I gave up the white dress

that skims the floor.

As she walks towards him,

dandelions tremble in her wake,

marvel at the weight

of their own heads.

Are these ghosts?

I crack mine out of

my knuckles while


The sound is like nothing

I have ever heard.

Friday, April 16, 2010

St. Pope Julius I

did you shake the ground

when you fled,

trailing those lush stolen robes

behind you?

the smell of the church

was still thick on your skin,

the holy trinity rattling

shaken, shaken

by Arian’s sweaty


Thursday, April 15, 2010

St. Basilissa and Anastasia

cradle the bodies as if they were

your first born. pink & yearning.

pretend they are flushed roses,

dogwoods in bloom, dark tulips

blooming under the window.

does anyone really know how

to carry the dead? to throw the first

heap of dirt over their hands & cheeks

eyes so softly closed? is there a

better way to lower a body into

the earth? we are trembling.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

St. Lidwina (patron of the chronically ill & ice skaters)

face to ice, rib cracked

blood pours from your mouth

as smooth as the silk I dream about.

the hem of your sky-skirt

frozen to the surface, red hands spread

and shaking against the cold.

start with this snow white

bite of apple, then a taste of

date, watered wine--

the salt that rides in with the tide,

turns our river to ocean.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

St. Margaret of Castello (patron of the poor, crippled, and unwanted)


there are bedrooms full of us.

peeling metallic wallpaper,

the music saying all is well

when we clearly know it is not.

maybe we should move to

the side of town God lives on.


your body breaks into song

when I leave it alone.

who knew you had perfect pitch?

who knew your voice was a circle

of traps in this wilderness?

tear at my ankles,

keep me here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

St. Michael (patron of paratroopers, police officers, mariners, grocers, paramedics, the sick)

Quis ut Deus?

who is like God?

your name is its own

rhetorical question

are you one of us?

one of our adversaries?

a son of light or

a son of darkness?

heaven bleeds like a wound

made of light, a cut

straight to the core.

reach the end of time,

never look back.

fight with those golden fists,

throbbing heart beneath

silver breastplate.

this world is its own

fiery furnace.

look down from your mountain.

lean out over the edge. enlighten us.

your wings are swift.

your breath drives out sin

like a golden bullet

straight to the devil’s heart.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

St. Gemma Galgani (patron of students and pharmacists)

your mind unraveled

a mark of disgrace

impressed by divine favor

on your body

a disease, a spot, brand yourself.

I bear on my body

the marks of _________.

as if you deserve these

five holy wounds,

this odour of sanctity.

state of grace, these flowers

that bloom after death,


to suddenly dry up, heal

as if it never happened.


you are an illness,

punctured in the wilderness

blooming under the skin.