Thursday, September 30, 2010

St. Jerome (patron of archaeologists, scholars, librarians, & libraries)

this town is a skeleton

stretching its bones

between these rolling hills.

the silence at night

can be terrifying.

we have trouble

filling up such big houses,

such empty buildings.

it storms, and all the

stained glass windows

rattle in their frames.

there is blood

on my finger

and a song

stuck in my teeth.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saints Michael, Gabriel, & Raphael the Archangels

like the blossom

of all those fireworks,

your braids

are quiet.

they loop around

a field of wheat.

you have spread yourself

wider than the lake.

our house was swallowed

in vines. they have grown

into our bedroom window

to lay claim on this land.

we ignore them.

we dream on, dream on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

St. Wenceslaus

The stars got it wrong.

In all these dreams,

I am in planes, on the wide decks

of boats, or sulking in the

passenger seat of a Buick.

I am getting away.

The radio blares, but I can’t

seem to make out any lyrics.

There were red shoes.

There were unsigned cards.

There were so many seeds

that refused to take root.

I wake up and find pain

in all of my joints, as if

my hands were over my head

for hours, exclaiming something

I do not remember.

Monday, September 27, 2010

St. Elzear of Sabran

you are quartz

you are a pond full of tea

you are the grasses

that dip down slowly.

this room is too small.

there are windows

to press your cheeks

up against, to cloud

with sweat and blush.

lift up your skirts

and let the voices

fall out.

this is what it

feels like

to be sweet.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The North American Martyrs (patrons of Canada)

do you know what happens

when you break the glass doorknob

off in your hands?

we go back to the beginning.

we start out with flushed cheeks

and palms so sweaty.

we’ll walk out onto this

great frozen lake and melt

straight through its surface.

this is the bottom.

now we must look up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bl. Herman the Cripple

we fell asleep

in the backseat.

the windows were

left rolled down.

seats sticky with dew,

vertebrae bent and twisted.

as we slept, the sky turned

the deepest blue, then darkness.

when we woke up

entangled & cold,

the trunk of your car

was full of violets.

little pots

all lined up.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Lady of Ransom

in my dreams,

all the snails

on the sidewalk

unrolled themselves

into beams of light.

my heart moved

with the grace of

a school of little pink fish.

my lungs gasped for air

as if from the bottom

of a well.

the night was so thick

I couldn’t catch my breath.

it seeped around the moon

like crude oil, like a mistake.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

last month, in the choir,

I yielded to to sweet sleep.

strengthen my heart

to burst out of my chest.

the heart bleeds


dear Father,

I am dying of pain.

grant me this grace?


this poem was written using Padre Pio's own words.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

St. Thomas of Villanova

the house still stands.

I will do what I have always done

and leave the curtains open,

stare across our yard, and press

my nose to the glass.

I will continue to imagine

that the house is full of apples.

I will sleep on the floor

until someone comes home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

St. Matthew (patron of accountants)

there is a mess in my head

that no amount of sweeping

will push into a corner.

I went to the movies

and walked straight up the aisle

with a pushpin in my hand,

I punctured the screen

and it rippled like the water

I’d imagined it to be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

St. Andrew Kim Taegon (patron of Korean clergy)

I need a field of magnets

to pull me back home

when I wander too close to the edge

of this wide & wonderful ocean.

My mother’s hand leaps to her chest

as I dangle my toes over the rock.

Why should I be scared of such

a height?

Our flames lick the logs

from beneath. I almost fall when

the wood pops with water in the fireplace.

It must be the sound of a heart breaking.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

St. Januarius (patron of blood banks & volcanic eruptions)

you touched my eye

with the rough tip

of your forefinger

and the whole world

went black.

I imagined the stars

like milk in my mouth.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

St. Joseph of Cupertino (patron of air travelers, aviators, astronauts & weak students)

open your mouth


there are more galaxies

beneath your tongue.

you are a warm invention.

I keep wearing your jacket.

there are holes in the pockets

and I lose my house keys

in the red silk lining

every time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

St. Robert Bellarmine (patron of canonists)

she glued thick black lace

on all our family portraits

as if we were all looking at the world

from behind intricate fences, as if

we kept ourselves unaware

and locked away. she always said

our windows are too wide and she’d

almost tear the curtains from their rods

trying to pull them closed. some people,

they just won’t understand. some people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

St. Cornelius (patron against earaches, epilepsy, cramps, and fevers)

my fever burnt a hole

straight through my

grandmother’s quilt.

the cottage was thick

with lavender smoke

like this was magic,

as if everything wasn’t

too painful to think about.

the river flowed on.

the trees continued

their slow shift

into rust.

I submerged my body

in a bathtub full of honey

if only to coat this

burning throat,

to make everything move

just a bit slower.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows

I have my sorrows

narrowed down to seven.

  1. the blueberies have withered on the stem.
  2. I found an empty eggshell at the bottom of my coffee.
  3. I’ve abandoned so many cats.
  4. the space between my thighs will never exist.
  5. there are no more marbles buried in the backyard.
  6. if there’s a way to say yes, I haven’t discovered it yet.
  7. the ground outside my window is littered with orange peels.

these tears connect

like constellations.

I’ve been thrown

out of orbit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

the tulips at your feet

sagged on their stems.

I wanted to scare them

back to life.

the tornado made us feel eager,


all those bricks

fell so quickly.

with the neighborhood

pooling around the storm drains,

I really thought

you’d return my kiss.

Monday, September 13, 2010

St. John Chrysostom (patron of preachers, lecturers, & epilepsy)

these are my

best hands.

I’ve been saving them

for just this occasion.

I saw your teeth

glittering gold

from the back

of the church

and I knew I had

to touch your mouth,

feel the heat

of all those stars.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I woke up suddenly

and thought this was

the next life.

You were so bright

and your mouth

was so full of cherries.

I leaned into your body

with my whole heart

and fell right through.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bl. Louis of Thuringia

when he died,

that blue egg

in your stomach


your throat

was a campfire,

your lips as bright

as a July flame.

the strawberry layer cake

on the kitchen counter

wilted onto the formica.

the party’s over.

Friday, September 10, 2010

St. Nicholas of Tolentino (patron of animals, babies, boatmen, & the Philippines)

I caught you yelling

from the upstairs window

three or four times

before you filled your mouth

with an apple and called it a day.

I pointed at the moon to show you

what quiet really sounds like.

The weather blew in

to my angry lungs

and filled them with frost.

This must be what it feels like

to not trust your own organs,

to go out playing your

one moaning song.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

St. Peter Claver (patron saint of slaves)

We must speak to them with our hands

before we try to speak to them with our lips.

you bit my finger and said

that we were all born

from one peach pit

and that your heart

felt like a velvet chair

left out in the rain.

this parking lot

is not a star

and the line

running down the center

of the road home

is anything

but straight.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

it was as if you emerged

from some icy pond--

stuck a hand up through

its glittering surface

and waved hello.

the shock value

is the same.

no one expected anything

from the water, no one

was ready for your halo

perched like a moon

behind your curls,

setting those

baby cheeks