Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

...was it awkward

to be the first?

did you slide under

the sheets as the sun

shoved its way

into the room?

when God found you

asleep in the morning,

you never expected

such vibrato--

oh, child, your heart

is whirring like a jet engine.

calm yourself.

you will remember him

like a satellite, rattling

around your ribs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saints Peter and Paul

let’s kick things off

with a vigil--

preferably blue

and billowing.

then we’ll blow out

all of these candles

and let the smoke

wind around these

skinny wrists.

my neck gives birth

to so many stars.

this ribcage is a weapon

against getting closer to you

and I’d like to let my heart out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Irenaeus

once I accepted God

as the one and only

light of my life,

my body went numb.

no more kisses

under my earlobes,

no more hands clutching

at the back of a knee.

I wheeled my heart

to the edge and let go.

I stand here panting,

sweating, wondering

how I will function without

the heat of my universe.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

St. Ladislaus

the boundaries of this apartment

are as soft as red yarn.

with all those gaps in your teeth,

I’d never call you the model of chivalry.

the water on the stove hisses for my attention,

like a cat in a box under our bed.

you sleep right through. my hands ache

until I get up. I stop a fire from happening.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Anthelm of Belley

I think about blooming

and how I’m going to

nip this in the bud.

I think about all these

little bruises and how

I must have gotten them.

I think about small towns

and how I’m not ashamed

to be from one.

I think about your fingers

clutching that lantern. Please

lead me safely into the night.

There is a smattering

of red stars on my right hip.

I think I felt your hand there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prosper of Aquitaine

in this heat, I feel as if

I should be spooning myself

back into my sweltering frame.

there are two kinds

of grace in this world

and the better of the two

is pooling under my eyes,

strolling down past the corners

of my lips, taut like a ribbon.

I open my mouth and glisten.

I’m attempting to drink

more than my share

of the oceans.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

they told me to lean

into the arms

of all those angels

they’ll catch you, cradle you,

teach you how to sleep.

I left the dark womb first.

with a flashlight in hand,

they shoved me out,

asked me to woo

all those wide eyes.

I’m not the messiah,

but I’m here to gauge

if you’re ready for one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

St. Joseph Cafasso (patron of captives & prisoners)

if we both fall asleep

on the train, it will rumble

right on past your house

past all those bars

across the windows

where the mosquitos

and moths flutter right on in.

this light of this subway car

is not bright enough

to keep me fully awake,

but it is bright enough

to keep me from

showing you my lower back

in front of all these strangers.

the man across from us

has planted violets under his seat.

I want to stay here long enough

to see them bloom.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

St. Thomas More (patron of adopted children, difficult marriages, large families)

I owe a thank you

to the man who coined

the word for what I feel

these days,

even if my definition

is slightly skewed & is even

sweatier than I imagined.

I don’t sleep, even with

all these fans pointed

at my body to cool me down.

I just want it to storm

for a few minutes

while I get my bearings.

I keep waking up

and wondering where

you are.

I don’t remember

my dreams.

Monday, June 21, 2010

St. Aloysius Gonzaga (patron of young students)

I have come to terms

with fire--

with the way it’s always

licking the back

of my mother’s hand

like a cat, like something

to take home with you.

she always smells

destruction in the air.

I even mistake

my nosebleeds

for the smell

of this building

crumbling under flames.

in my life,

there will always be

something smoldering.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

St. Silverius

I’ve betrayed this city

that hums in my bones.

The train rumbles by

like a silver stream

of horses on the prairie.

I roll over in my half-sleep

and there you are, your arms

glowing with the heat

of all those spider bites.

my mouth is a wide open

moon. I roll you up like a prayer

and keep you under my tongue.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

St. Romuald

he told me to empty myself

completely and sit waiting.

my coffee ripples

from the center outward.

he told me that I should desire

to be swallowed up,

to retreat into my own heart.

the angels circle my bed

with their wings that rustle

like sheets and they tell me

that I too am a saint.

I whisper back:

he is the greatest hallucination.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bl. Gregory Barbarigo

I take flight

across this wide geography,

keep an olive branch

in the gaps of my teeth,

and wait for the storm

to break.

I am not scared of this flood.

chairs float around my room

and I wish I could be

so buoyant.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sts. Teresa and Sanchia

this world exists as two hearts

cooked quietly until they are just


their suns are clouded over, while

yellow pools sit patiently waiting

to break open.

they whisper to me in my sleep.

get married. take a ring and let it

carry you away.

this feels like a fable,

but has too many dark corners

and doors with no knobs to turn,

no way out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

St. John Francis Regis (patron of lacemakers and New York City)

take that slender hand

and pull. the girl comes

tumbling back into the fold.

her lips are lacework.

through the arches of this

great bridge, she returns

from that sprawling borough.

stand at the tip of this island

and welcome her home.

her eyes unravel at the seams.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

St. Germaine of Pibrac

patron of:
abandoned people; abuse victims; against poverty; bodily ills; child abuse victims; disabled people; girls from rural areas; handicapped people; illness; impoverishment; loss of parents; peasant girls; physically challenged people; poverty; shepherdesses; sick people; sickness; unattractive people; victims of abuse; victims of child abuse; young country girls

they should have known

she wouldn’t last.

she emerged at birth with

blue lungs full of silver pins.

there was nothing to do

but send her out to the field

with God and a candle and see

how long it would take

to set this horizon on fire.

she has no future, no past

to paste into books,

to remember through song,

or mother’s bread,

or the ways the pleats

in her skirt hid all those

bruises on her knees.

a forest of wolves welcomed

her cloud down to the wheat.

they bit into the softest thing

they could find.

Monday, June 14, 2010

St. Methodius I

there is a small voice

that seeps out from between

the sheet and the mattress

a wild call into the dark,

a request for much more light

than I can possibly give.

it tells me that there is a path

straight across this wheezing city

that leads to you.

there is something like Olympus

behind your teeth, in the darkness

that feels like home.

you spit out tonight

like a pit, strings of fruit

stuck in all the tight places

of your mouth.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

St. Anthony of Padua (patron of seekers of lost articles & my mom's favorite)

dear saint anthony,

I think I may have asked you

in drowsiness, in mid-sleep

to help me find a way to save the cat

from crying from beneath my fire escape.

his mouth is pink

and all the blue birds fly out

and he is left empty.

I’d like someone to wear

matching square dance outfits with,

but that’s only if you have

a spare second or two.

I may have also asked

for a cup of near-dead stars,

a tongue that identifies everything

as sweet, and a pair of hands

full of electricity.

I’d like to make some

lightning happen.

I may have misplaced

all these things

a long time ago.

I may have never owned them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Immaculate Heart of Mary

there’s only a humming

behind the velvet curtains

where her virginal heart

used to be.

I opened the curtains,

expected to find part of her there.


the brightest red.

this feels like the summer

I ate nothing but oatmeal.

all that warmth in the sun

made me feel too full.

I took up sewing to replace

this black hole behind the curtains.

a felt heart unravels at the seams.

I never promised I was good

at making anything real again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

your heart chose to flourish

in a way that caught my attention.

how could I not be drawn in

by the draping of thorns? the wide

throbbing center of something so real?

if I look into your eyes, I forget

your finger, pointing to the center

of the sun.

you told me I was a worried seed,

too fickle to blossom, too flighty

to be a root vegetable.

could we bury your heart?

start a new world full of

trembling red light?