Tuesday, August 31, 2010

St. Raymond Nonnatus (patron of childbirth, midwives, & pregnant women)


your mother told you

that the clouds were milk

& you could drink them

through song.


when she died,

they pierced your lips

& padlocked them shut.


they said your heart

was a jukebox.


that music’s not allowed

in a town like this.


even so,

the girls swung their hips

to the sound of the keys

that shut you up.


they raised their arms,

collapsed onto couches

& let your music


slip those sweaters

right over their cheeks

& their hot-roller curls.


bobby pins clattered

to the floor.



Monday, August 30, 2010

St. Fantimus

I’ll wait until you tell me

the end of your dream.


for now, the horses remain buried

up to their sleek stomachs


in the darkest tar.



I woke up standing

in the kitchen.


I imagined glass

shattered at my feet.


No blood, no slices

between toes.



I must have heard

your horses whinnying,


calling out for someone

to help them out


of place so black.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beheading of St. John


there’s a light about

your eyes that I thought

would never

go dark.


as they pulled your hair

away from your neck,

I saw a glint of backbone


white and warning.

I thought of tying

cherry stems into knots

with my tongue.


I thought of everything

but you and your neck


craning away

from your body.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine (patron of brewers, painters, theologians, those with sore eyes)


I bit straight

to the seed,


pulled the strings

of fruit from between

my teeth and


called it a day.


the sky is not

gold.


the streets are wet

with night.


I heard you singing

in a nearby house


and I wished

I could slam


all the shutters

closed.


Friday, August 27, 2010

St. Monica (patron of those who have difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness)


this bruise is a home

I’d like to live in--


those soft violet walls,

the colors beneath

everything.



is this what it feels like

to have bones?


to look the sun

in the eye

and not go blind?



after you kissed me,

I pulled a four-leaf clover


out from under

my tongue.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bl. Thomas Percy


afterwards, you told me

that I was an absolute frontier.


this felt like a way

to reach the prairie


and never look back.


we walked across the river,

against all that current.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

St. Joseph Calasanctius (patron of schools)


you are nothing but

heart & tongue.


no. really.

your heart & tongue

lie in a box in Rome.


I can go visit them

whenever I’d like.


but without a body,

there is no beating,


no lips licked.


are you happy with

what you’ve been

reduced to?


your instruments

lie silent.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

St. Bartholomew (patron of bookbinders, trappers, & twitching)


I knew you

under that fig tree.


only with our

mouths creaking open,


our sunburned ribs.


there is a way

to trace ourselves

back to the start.


first, a seed.

then, a miracle.


this love

has no weight.


Monday, August 23, 2010

St. Rose of Lima (patron of embroiderers, gardeners & florists)


God shuffled his feet

leading us back home.


We kicked the rotten apples

in our way, stepped on every

crack in the sidewalk.


He looked at the sky and said,

There are errors in this stitching,

something wrong with the way

you hold your needles.


Our only instructions said

to make it bright, and

to make the clouds tremble.


We didn’t know there

was a way to fail.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bl. John Kemble


you are an abandoned house

you are a tractor in the front yard


you are a chipped mug of

cold coffee, you are the reason


I tore everything up.


I took all the photographs

out of their frames


and before I could

cut them to pieces


I found them wheezing

under my bed.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

St. Pius X


this is what

it feels like

to flail.


to reach for the

hot heart of Mary

and come back

empty.


he hooked our song

with one long claw


and looped it

up and out

of our throats.


I have already

forgotten the chords

I use in bed,


what to hum

when I get

so close


to your ear.

Friday, August 20, 2010

St. Bernard of Clairvaux


I wanted

to soften you up,


to peel you

like an onion.


I held your skin

up to the the light


and it turned

my whole world

warm.



brittle.

I would call it brittle.


everything snapped

in an instant.


my life

unrolled.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. Jean Eudes



he turns my heart

into a rockette


all glitter and legs,

all synchronicity and song.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

St. Helen


you are nothing but

bright desires


and I can’t find the

doorknob out of this place


with my sticky fingers,

my lungs full of cobwebs.


you’d think I never learned

how to breathe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Clare of Montefalco


I had no idea

that if I sliced

my skin open


cherry blossoms

would flutter out.


I’ve tried to play

this game before.


flutter these lids,

leap beneath

the cloud-cover,


open up.


someone put a cross

in my heart.


it catches fire

in the heat

of the moment,


in the midst

of your kiss.

Monday, August 16, 2010

St. Stephen of Hungary

The Holy Right Hand of Saint Stephen

_______________

tomorrow is eventual.


if you’d only hold me

while I’m dreaming,


I’d forget about these

poppy blossoms on my knees.


there are these nightmares

I have about the wooden stairs


about being chased,

about the windows


turning to water.

they will drown me.


I know it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


seeing you

rise up


was an

unknown pleasure.


I slumped

on the bleachers

to watch.


under wool blankets,

we knocked knees


when you left

the ground.


that was the sky

we towered against.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Maximillian Kolbe (patron of drug addicts & amateur radio)


our plan was to marry

those freckled twins

who owned the orchards


we dreamed that each day

we’d come home,

throw back the sheets

and find so many pink ladies.


we broadcasted our desires

over the airwaves, but never

heard anything back.


the nearby lake was

the deepest thing I knew.


it took our words

down to its rocky center,

lapped them up with

gentle waves.


we told ourselves that this,

this century, must be

the difficult one.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Sts. Pontian & Hippolytus (patrons of those who work in prisons)


the only thing in the room

that ready for us

was the bed.


sheets tucked at the corners

two pillows

& one round, red sun.


your mouth is my oyster. scratch that.

your oyster is my mouth.

this is going

in an unexpected direction.


when I press my ear

to your chest, it gallops


like so many horses,

like a night on the plains.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

St. Jane Frances de Chantal (patron of forgotten people & in-law problems)


the fire creeps up &

catches the hem of

everything I wear.


I made a skirt

out of photo negatives.


hold it up to the light

and see what you’ve

been missing.


they’ll melt

so quickly.


all those canoe trips,

sagging birthday cakes,

and all those bow-legged

first-days-of-school.


to put out the flames,

I can walk into the lake

heart first.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

St. Clare of Assisi (patron of television)


when you play with history,

things get rough.


after rolling around

on this thick and bristling carpet,

your knees look like scoops

of pink ice cream.


they melt. they collapse under

the great weight of time.


I stare hard at the wall.

the cracks turn into faces,

the moulding into outstretched arms.


those bones keep our roof

aloft. if this were a house of God,

all the floorboards would be shining.