Wednesday, March 31, 2010

St. Benjamin (patron of preachers)

render your body

a ruin. the tenderest places

run for cover. all they asked

was for you to keep


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

St. John Climacus

we have almost no information about John’s life

we have to stop now

we have always lived in the castle

we have a bad feeling about this

we have come into his house

we have all the time in the world

there is in existence

there is in the end, the letting go

he learned obedience through suffering

he learned about gun smoke

he learned to love the bomb

he taught us how to love but not how to stop

he taught us how to drive by weeds

he taught us how to watch and pray

not to be served but to serve

not to beat a dead horse

not to be reckoned with, but to live

on the shoulders of giants

on the shortness of life

on the shore of the wide world

Monday, March 29, 2010

St. Rupert of Saltzburg (patron of Saltzburg)

I have a soft spot for the salt in your bed,

the way you ring in my head like an old bell.

and I know all there is to know about everything

that is green. nobody likes you. the grass will dry

up and wither. is this what God’s word speaks of?

a creature crawls its way through our relationship.

we lost everything. in the light that is left,

your lips are nothing but historic.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. Tutilo

I’m always amazed at how his hands

move across the harp strings

like a fox galloping across those notes,

like plucking the bones of my vertebrae.

I am a cherry blossom on the verge.

With palms that size, he could uproot trees

with a single sweep of wrist,

dirt tumbling to my feet, his other hand

entwined in my hair.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

St. John Damascene

you see that curve of cheek? the way the light

skates so smoothly across that halo?

this face does not deserve to be


to have its pieces scattered across

a grocery store parking lot.

instead, we could allow the gold to be

what it was meant to be.

you sigh like an old Kipling poem.

we could tear the forsythia blossoms

from the branches?

put this gold next to our bedside,

pretend it is holy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

St. Ludger (patron of the Netherlands)

if you stand between two swans,

neck-hearts are split. they tell me to leap

into the hay and have no regrets. love in

the season of marigolds. my heart works until

it’s raw. my body blames itself for its many

shortcomings. I just want to be held by all of your

arms. when we divide my body between

the pale city and the blue country, I cannot

remember your face.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Annunciation of Our Lord

I think we would have been happy

in a life without miracles. Slow blooms

never interested me much. The flowers

show their colors, darken to shades

of blood. He never asked if I wanted to live

without being touched, without the slow

twinge of regret in the morning. The sun

falls on a curve of my breast. I know

what it means to want. It whispers to me

from the folds of my knuckles. I miss

everything I’ve ever missed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St. Gabriel the Archangel (patron of communications workers)

I stand at the foot of her bed,

married to a spark.

A child is a bolt of lightning.

This what it means to be

forgiven, to call out dryly

like a desert.

I could disappear, leave

a gift that will bloom in

nine short months.

I haven’t the heart

to wake her.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo (patron of native rights, Peru)

I check my expiration date between

the gaps in my teeth. Discovery. It is

today. There’s no mistaking the curves

of the numbers printed there. The year

of my departure. Instead of curling up

inside the folds of my skirt, I take the screens

out of all my windows. Let the air in.

Today is warm, the sun is the bright yolk

of yesterday. Hatched. Punctured by

the sharp wings of a jet, it runs out,

spills over onto the hills, turns everything

to gold.

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Lea

All That is Known of Lea

Who will praise the blessed Lea

as she deserves? She renounced

painting her face and adorning her head

with shining pearls. She exchanged

her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased

to command others in order to obey all.

She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of

furniture; she spent her nights in prayer,

and instructed her companions through

her example rather than through protests

and speeches.

And she looked forward to her arrival

in heaven in order to receive her recompense

for the virtues which she practiced on earth.


*found text, spoken by St. Jerome

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Benedict (patron of Europe, against poison, against witchcraft, spelunkers, etc. etc.)

love her and choose the latter. her hands

flutter down your back like doves. forget

what that feels like. she tastes like the

greenest poison. the thickest brambles

tear the skin. if love was a raven,

this would be so much easier. lips are

ghosts. having a heart leads to fevers,

sweats in the night. there is a way to be

alone. it is an undiscovered continent,

a map that cannot be understood.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

St. John of Parma

A moon so big, it’s hard to wrap

your arms around its wide belly. Bitterness

exists in a coffee mug on my windowsill.

The more I wish the more I know he will arrive

late. Beneath these ribs, there is a ruby forest. Sleep

with him and at least you’ll be held. Through the night,

I dream that all the pines fall. I dream that God

is spun sugar. Pink and full, he melts into the dawn.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph (patron of workers, against doubt and hesitation and of a happy death...& countless other things)

I hear the same angels

in my sleep, shake myself awake

when I hear their feathers

rustle against the doorframe.

all flight & bone, light & heart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cyril of Jerusalem

submerged. there is a mystery

in this water, in breathing beneath

the surface of my sins. I try to believe

that two starry bodies with outstretched

arms (plus a wisp of a ghost) can become


I taste this bread over and over and still

cannot find the flesh. this wine leaves

echoes of something on my tongue

that I try and pinpoint. it is not what

flows beneath the skin from heart

to temple.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick (patron of Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, engineers, paralegals, invoked against snakes)

this land never had any

slithering things to wind

between outstretched limbs.

you lead me to the edge

of the ocean and ask me to stand still.

I thought you were my gold river,

my ticket to the sun.

I want to jump towards the blue,

lose myself where the only thing

to lose is air. I have such windy dreams.

in a life that is thick with thistles,

I have learned to tread lightly.

mornings lean out over the railing,

balance on the edge.

I wait for you to start a fire.

I’ll even take away the matches.

let’s just go home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Anastasia Patricia

hands that never stop reaching,

grabbing for the peaches under

my dress, trembling at the thought

of getting so close to what they want.

run from this. from you. I left days

ago, hiding within my own body.

I reply to you with the same eyes

as yesterday, rustle in my sleep as

you wrap your arms around my waist.

a shudder in my heart. clenched teeth

cry out from their little white homes.

when you touch me, I lie still. that breast

is not mine and neither is the mouth you

press your lips against. I feel nothing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Louise de Marillac (patron of disappointing children, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders, sick people, social workers)

"No Desires, No Resolutions" - Louise de Marillac


she kept her resolution

not to see _______ anymore

(a desire to work

in the dirt

with your bare hands)


he handled the last actions

with resolution

(they were clinging

together in fierce

mutual desire)


the peaceful resolution of

all disputes

(there had been a time,

years ago, when he

had desired


Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. John of Panaca

your heart blazes like

fruit inside the frost.

bloom in the midst

of this ache, dear flower.

if I can learn to see through

my white yearning,

you will appear

all flushed

and hurried,

blossom and


Saturday, March 13, 2010

St. Joseph of Arimathea

your body speaks

in growls. a hurt

heaving beneath skin,

within my arms.

this is the language

of pain. I was hurtled

towards the edge and did

not try to save myself.

step out of this gown

called anatomy.

bruise up this thing

called life.

I reach for you. keep

silent. let’s call it even.

Friday, March 12, 2010

St. Symeon

think of me through god-

logic. my love crumbles

like the low stones of

our stairs. I am drunk

on your light, tipsy

with the promise of

remembering my dreams.

there is an ache that never

ceases. to wrap my body

around a breath, a beating

heart within a tight cage

of ribs, lips that do more

than just turn away.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Gregory of Nyssa

God stalks me

like light.

My life is nothing but a

dazzle, a way to blind

myself every time

I step forth into the day.

Sundays are as thick as

sand, my knees

buckle as they sink.

I drink all of this down

with a hot tongue.

My taste buds burn

and return anew.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

strip down. slide onto

ice. stand in the middle

of a darkness much larger

than yourself.

clasped hands to

cheeks. toes turn

blue as the snow

in the moonlight.

morning is as warm

as you imagine it to be.

all those frozen fish under

your feet will always

be wide-eyed wonders.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St. Frances of Rome (patron of automobile drivers)

wolves’ teeth are sharper

in the dark. gleaming white

planets of the mouth.

knives to keep under

pillows, sleeping ribcages

hold birds that will sing


predict a crack in the

infallible. see the last breath

rise and fall like a skirt.

how lovely to always have light

on the road ahead.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St. John of God (patron of bookbinders, dying people, firefighters, heart patients, publishers)

sanity unravels like a knitted

blanket that covers my feet.

if this is what it means

to be holy,

I’d rather find you and

go someplace I’ve never been.

I beat my chest, slur straight on

till morning.

I reached the light and found

nothing but

a parable.