Monday, May 31, 2010

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary



a hand on your blossoming stomach

is a second-class feast, a day to be

reckoned with.


that movement in the womb is real.

as if a whole world is coming into

the light.


your eyes are blue and the sea swells

inside. give birth to this high-tide child.


this is how to make things whole again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

St. Joan of Arc (patron of France, martyrs, captives, those ridiculed for their piety)


home is scorched earth,

red & ruddy & always aflame.


the mind wanders, loses its way,

forgets which forests have burned.


from the field, even voices sound beautiful.

all those syllables amongst the wheat.


I don’t remember where or when.

It just happened. I breathed in

and I was on the back of this white horse.


what I mean to say

is that it started snowing.


for every inch that fell,

I cut an inch of my hair off.


there are no villains here.

I promise you.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

St. Bona of Pisa (patron of travelers)


he reaches his radiant hand out

to her and she backpedals

away from the light.


out of all these trips,

she never expected

to see the sun here.


in front of her. naked and shining.

her hands blister.


her water rises to the surface

to worship, to show devotion.


this holy heat takes over,

her body flushes to pink

and then red.




Friday, May 28, 2010

St. Germain of Paris

she told me that she wears nylons

so her veins won’t fall out of her legs.


I imagine all those red rivers

converging at her feet.


a puddle of

something so dark.



she urges me to hug her

every day. I might not

be here tomorrow,

she whispers.


the two of us

lean back in our

matching recliners.



a dove lands on the porch railing.

it slowly coos us to sleep.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Augustine of Canterbury


He told me to go to sleep

and die amongst the stars


but I don’t think I can hold up

my end of that deal. I can’t


keep my eyes closed. All these

comets keep whistling through


and keep me awake. With binoculars,

I think I can see an astronaut floating


in an inner tube of night. The lone satellite

blinks on and off and continues on its


wide circle. circling. The planes weave

around in the sky as if they were making


a blanket of the darkest yarn. I am drawn

to the edge of the sea to see the dark clearer.


The boats bob in and out, the sun lights up

the moon with her ruddy cheeks.


I start to drift away.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

St. Philip Neri (patron of Rome)


This must be some little dream.

A way to get pushed up against a locker.


I can feel the handle imprinting itself

into my back. I cut my wayward curl


so they wouldn’t catch it reaching towards

the wooden Jesus in the hallway. He shines


like I want my teeth to shine. he whispered:

if you pray hard enough, your heart will grow


and crack your ribs right open. I believed him

until now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

St. Magdalena de Pazzi

My hips are bent carousels.

These painted ponies call me

the sunshine kid.


I am gold & green & just trying

to keep my legs crossed.


I am jealous of your teeth

& the way you run your tongue

over them before you touch me.


My intentions are dappled.

My mother told me that my eyes

glow too much. They are lightbulbs


planted by God, I tell her.

I cannot stop this electricity.

Monday, May 24, 2010

St. Vincent of Lerins


love is when you hit the mark.

no double-guessing, no cherries left

at the bottom of your drink.


eat them up. those red suns

soaking in the light.


I feel holy when I loop my legs

around this barstool. my heart


is a tin ceiling.



Sunday, May 23, 2010

St. Giovanni Battista de Rossi


I go to church with snakes

in my pockets.


these forked tongues

know which pages

hold the answers


to all this everlasting life,

love, & the pursuit of everything

but sin.


they slither close to my chest,

just above my heart.


sometimes I imagine them

winding around my organs,


& squeezing the life right out

of me. this is what it really means

to be afraid.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

St. Rita of Cascia


somehow, you always end up back inside.

all the locks on the wide windows are engaged,

the doors shut tightly in their rusty hinges.


there are no creaks in the night, no floorboards

give way under your weight. all is quiet.


but you’re here.


there are too many songs that I associate

with you. they arise on the radio,

one after another, and I let them play.


songs are bees. they circle around my mouth,

enter with the softest fluttering. they do not sting.


I crawl into this new bed and let them swarm.



Friday, May 21, 2010

St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara


leave this world with a clean plate.

all those stains on your apron mean

you’ve been somewhere.


you’ve done something.

you like your tomatoes red and bursting.


with all these colors, you are a scorned

aleluia. born from a heart. a dripping red heart.


the clouds open. leave your body to soak the soil.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

St. Bernardino of Siena (patron of advertising, chest problems, gambling addicts, public relations workers)


today does not feel like paper. it is an instant

stomachache.


all those scarves draped over the lampshade

distort the light.


I am yellow. there is a way to say no but I

do not know what it is.


I stretch in the heat, sleep sweaty. all this water

belongs to me.


The raw heart in my belly is upset with me.

I cannot keep anything down.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pope Celestine


his flames lick the high ceilings

of my teenage years.


eyes shine out in the dark. he says

they are just as icy as his father’s.


he is ashamed. the plastic that

seals the windows ripples in the wind.


his birthday is in the coldest month.

my hands shake and I can hardly

light the candles.


they quiver. he will always be

a dove shuddering under the bridge.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St. Pope John I

I open myself up and

all that’s inside is a song


you’d imagine your

guardian angel to sing


on-key. out of these

minor chords and dissonance--


I sound wrong. I have not been

tuned properly.



I am too old to be sneaking

out of my own house, but I

do it anyways.


the stairs creak below these toes.

no one emerges from dark bedrooms

to stop me.




Monday, May 17, 2010

St. Paschal Baylon


there are pigeons fluttering

in my eaves. I lie in my new bed


and stare out at a window

that looks into another window.


who knows what the outside

actually looks like.


skeleton fingers creep

over the sill, emerge from

below.


have they come to reclaim

these bricks? these sagging sills?


jump out of bed, click the lock

into its proper place.


from here, I cannot see the stars.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

St. Brendan (patron of boatmen, mariners, sailors, travelers, whales)

I set out for paradise.

I missed the top step

and tumbled downward.


Knees break into lilac blossom.

There are places I can’t go

without you.


To stomach this, I must

lie face down on the hardwood.


Every girl wants to be loved

that way. You & him walking


next to the frozen ocean.


I’m trying to forget

the sound of the ice


when I walked out on it

to wave back at him.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

St. Isidore the Farmer (patron of farmers, day laborers)


take that gentle beast’s head

in your hands, cradle it like

a bundle of peaches.


those grand eyes blink over

and over with eyelashes

inches long. rub his nose.

gently. his great tongue licks

your cheek.


the angel plows for you. let us

all rest. the fields grow gold.


there are no footprints

in the mud.


Friday, May 14, 2010

St. Matthias (patron of alcoholism, carpenters, tailors, smallpox)



I dream about ferris wheels

because I’ll never have wings.


I stare up at that gondola,

a rocking shadow

in the face of the sun


and know what it means

to be replaced.


I yell his name into

the whirring parts,


the lights that come on

at just the right time.


no girl comes

to take my hand,


no operator

to help me get

that much closer


to the sky.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our Lady of Fatima


as I child, I strained my eyes

to blur the world and saw nothing

out of the ordinary.


this might have been the first time

my heart was broken.


the sun trembled.


I stared into the glow

and saw stars in school.


I caught a glimpse of

a nun pouring milk over

a boy’s head in the hallway.


I blurred my eyes

and saw nothing but snow,


a fluttering of doves,

a smooth ghost sailing

down the nape of his neck.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sts. Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla & Pancras


yesterday was a singed lampshade. today

is a clanking radiator. tomorrow

will be a sagging windowsill.


you told me that your chest

could be my resting place. it heaves

like a billowed sail.


our lives are swelling outward. I touch

you and you don’t even stir in the sheets.


I trace your vertebrae. I feel no heat,

only bones stacked as tall as dinner plates.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

St. Richard Reynolds


this city is a phantom limb. your hands

reach out for each other from the ends


of the train lines. the streets are your

throbbing veins. I feel your presence


everywhere. ribs envelop. surround.

I keep my head down. I can’t bear


to see your heart strung up in that tree.

It swings defiantly in the wind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

St. Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka'i (patron of leprosy and AIDS patients)


beyond the closet, I found
the same darkness.

I set out in velvet, like an explorer
held a flame to the way ahead

I trace the whorls in the wood.

to figure out my own age.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

St. Pachomius


I rode across the river

on the back of something

that did not cry out

under my weight.



I reached the other muddy bank,

found turtles sunning themselves


and did not turn around.

I heard your voice.



I survived long enough to

get to the other side and look down


from the top of this ferris wheel.


I realized how small you are.

I realized you could fit in my heart.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

St. Boniface IV


there is a bee

sunning itself

in the bottom

of my champagne glass.



and so it goes

like that lazy eye

that wanders,

that breath

before the depths.



somewhere where

the earth is gold,

a dome is humming

with song.



the birds scatter

into the sun.