Saturday, July 31, 2010

St. Ignatius of Loyola (patron of soldiers)


sometimes I sweat so much

when I’m with you


that I have to close my eyes.

the salt rushes in, leaves them


red and thumping like cherries,

like hearts, like songs I have


and want to give to you.


there are things in the air

that are meant to be seen.


there is a white light

in this room


praying to be let out.


Friday, July 30, 2010

St. Peter Chrysologus

there are so many sounds

tonight and I can’t tell

if it’s only you


trying to make

the least amount of noise


as you tiptoe down the hallway

on these hardwood floors


with nails that cry

in this humidity,


or whether

it’s all these cicadas.


it is the season,

after all.


we are the ones awake

and listening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

St. Martha (patron of domestic servants)

this is a maiden

who tames.


she shows her teeth.

there are apples

in her eyes.


they fall

from the tree

before they are ripe.


before she knows it,

the bees have arrived


and are drunk. on her.

on this fruit. this sugar.


things brown so quickly.


she cut corners in loving you.

she lies still in the grass,


reaches heavenward,

and closes her eyes.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

St. Victor I


you are the largest star

I have ever discovered.


you open your mouth

and I see nothing

but ruins.


when you place

your lips on mine,

I forget what elegy means.


this is what it feels like

to be colorblind, to be tender,


to finally realize

that the world

is crooked.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

St. Panteleon (invoked against headaches)


all I can think about

is the way your face

hit the pavement.


poppies bloomed

from your knees

and all the world


caught a glimpse

of those bruises

like violets


on the backs

of your thighs.


this is not the way

I would prefer to dream.


I knew I was dreaming

because milk flowed


where blood should be.

your body promised me

this couldn’t possibly


be real.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Sts. Joachim & Anne (patrons of grandparents)


the way I see it,

the desert winds

through your plush

pink stomach.


you keep faith.

grab on to the split ends

of my hair and pull tight.


I will call you divine,

no matter what

the cosmos believe.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

St. Christopher (patron saint of travelers)


our Buick caught

a barb in the road,


a thistle that sent us

hurdling.


we learned that if you

keep swinging


your rosary like a lasso

in front of the driver,


things will not

end well.


first, the impact.

second, the silence.


third, the prayer.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christina the Astonishing (patron of insanity, mental disorders, psychiatrists)


away from my body,

I found myself in a very gloomy place.


from the rafters, it’s difficult to

separate wonder from amazement.


from my own mouth, I told you

I’d wear those fires like a gown.


I want the flames to lick my heels,

fit snugly around these hips.


these thickets treat me well.

the waves thrash around these bones


and I know they will not break.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bridget of Sweden


I held myself

underwater


hoping to reach

a state of grace.


as if someone

switched on a lamp,


the surface glowed.


I spread my arms wide.


I predicted this

velvet hunger,


this curling of my fingers.


I knew everything

would grow

this quiet.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mary Magdalene


my breasts were

ships-in-bottles.


my eyes spun

like compasses.


in bed, I told him

I felt resurrected.


I asked him

to take me


back to the river,


to those derricks

that spout no oil,


to those rusty bridges,

to the crumbling train trestles.


my heart throbbed

like an egg


as red as the sun.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

St. Lawrence of Brindisi


he plugged his heart

into the sun’s socket


and sent his mind

spilling.


he thought he could

conquer the heat,


bottle it in mason jars,

keep it for the cold.


the sun gave and gave

until nothing remained


but fingerprints

on the glass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St. Appollinaris

I check the weather

compulsively,


as if it’s going to say,

oh, I was mistaken!

storms all day!

they are all yours!


this brush fire

in my throat

must be here

for a reason.


these days,

anything ignites.

Monday, July 19, 2010

St. Vincent de Paul (patron of charities)


there is a bird

that hovers

over the foot

of my bed.


it coughs

when I cough,


but its throat

sounds like music.


mine scratches

prized vinyl.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

St. Camillus de Lellis (patron saint of nurses)


he told us

that dying happily


felt like an apple

being sliced open

to reveal the sky.


his hands were

the whitest birds.


we cried

and he told us

it was sap

from the tallest trees.


he told us

that as we fell asleep

the orchids would bow


in the night.

the lakes would

reflect more than

just stars,


and all the foxes

would lie down


quietly

and keep us warm.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

I waited all day

for a storm that

never arrived.


the phone swung

from its cord

off of the cradle


the windowsills

sagged, and humidity

stopped all the doors

from closing.


I cut the air

with the largest knife

I could find.


it sliced clean open.


I never expected

it to cry.


it was full

of stars.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Lady of Mt. Caramel


how does it feel to be

the daughter who ran


furthest away

from the river?


from those velvet hills

from those closets

with too many quilts?


I watched you

from the window

like a devotion.


you are

the very thought

of guilt.




Thursday, July 15, 2010

St. Bonaventure




I opened my mouth

and all the four-leaf clovers

I’ve collected over the years

fell out.


The antique slips I use for curtains

are stained with storm. This night


is so brittle.


Music thumps above me.

The dogs from behind the wall

yap and yap over the whir

of all these silver fans.


I sweat out

all my grace.




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha (parton of ecology & the environment)


The lake laps up the shore

like a thousand wolves.


I’ve never seen water

so black.


This body never freezes,

so I’ve sailed to the middle


of this season. The moon

was a plum and the juice


ran over my chin. The stars

are soft-boiled.


I’ll float out here and wait

until they pool


into dawn.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

St. Henry II


This is one of those days

where I expect you to look back,

to say, Oh, really, I didn’t mean all that.


I lean over to touch your thigh

and you shrink back and flip on

the lights. The room screams no.


I know I said I could live

without this. I know that much.


As you turn away, my lone candle

sets the room on fire. It starts

with the curtains.


I let it burn.

Monday, July 12, 2010

St. Veronica (patron of laundry workers & photographers)



no one could figure out

how his face, as sudden

as the moment an apple

falls from the tree,


printed itself on the dress

you wore that day.


he only stood across the room

from you & your blushing.


his smile leapt out from behind

those lips and you were hooked.


the room swelled,

the windows rattled in their frames,

and there it was, right on the front

of your circle skirt.


clear as the vodka

used to spike the punch.


you ran out of the dancehall,

down to the ladies’ room.


the mirror reflected his eyes

right back into yours.


you felt him breathe

warmly on your stomach.


something was awakened.




Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pope Pius I

I wake up in the middle

of the velvet night to hear

the stones of our foundation

moaning under our weight.


It started like this: First, your eyes.

That hand on the small of my back.


I took a swan dive back into

myself. Your fingers ruffled my

feathers on the way down.


Then came the pull

of tin-can telephones,

the sagging weight

of distance between us.


I left the lights on to sleep.

I covered up with

every quilt I owned.


Now I wait for the tumble

of this house we’ve built.


I wonder how the windowpanes

will sound as they hit the street.