Sunday, October 31, 2010

St. Wolfgang (patron of apoplexy, paralysis, and strokes)

while face-first

in all those blankets,

I found bees in the stuffing,

their stingers lost in the downy white.

they punctuated my bed

like freckles at the top

of pale thighs.

my heart was only

a birthmark, a way

to tell myself

apart from all those

rotten peaches

that attract

the bees.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

if I told you

just how naked

the trees were,

I don’t think

you would have

believed me.

their cloaks hid

the icy surface

of the pond,

asked me to step out

onto nothing but


if some of me

is home with you,

I’m one leg in

deep. deeper

as the ice cracks

and the lines spread

out and away,

like roads to a

stock-still heart.

Friday, October 29, 2010

St. Narcissus

after under such a cloud,

the only thing I could

coax into blossom

was a thistle.

somewhere between

faint and stagger,

I lost my balance.

I found my own inner lake

and drained it dry.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sts. Simon and Jude (patrons of lost causes & desperate situations)

I opened up the window

and found only primary colors--

that blue vein,

the red of inner lung.

the world changed so quickly

when we were busy making angels.

wings and tendons

rest in our bed,

fill the corners of that room

with a music I thought

I’d never hear.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bl. Contardo Ferrini

I reached out towards

the infinite and came back

with the tail of a comet.

it burned straight through

my hand and straight on

'till morning.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Evaristus

your tongue is a thorn

underfoot--something to find

when I roll over in sleep,

when I find myself with

everything detached.

my arms are full of lilacs

on the other side of the window.

my legs have crawled under

the bed and refuse to emerge.

I wake up with a headache.

there must be a storm

behind my eyelids.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sts. Crispin and Crispinian (patrons of cobblers, leatherworkers, and tanners)

I had a mouth full

of berries and they all

burst open when

my head hit the window.

the juice rolled down my chin

and settled in the crevice

of my collarbone.

I waited for the car to flip.

this wasn’t an accident,

but just a way to see the world

from the bottom of the ravine.

I imagined your face

and what it would look like

in this very moment,

which is the best part

of being a twin.

my own fear is there

staring straight back at me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Anthony Mary Claret (patron of textile merchants and weavers)

your cheek was sliced open

from your lips to your earlobe

like a gift. as if someone wondered

what could possibly rest behind

that thin blanket of skin. I put you

in a bathtub full of milk.

blood dripped, poppies bloomed

around your ankles and then

faded all to pink. I pulled the

drain. I couldn’t stand it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

St. John of Capistrano (patron saint of jurists)

you blew out a candle

and I mistook it for a ghost.

I watched your car

drive into that fog

like it was a thick

and smoky lung.

the day stuck to my skin

like a tick, like drips

of fresh honey.

I need you to be

here when I get back.

I need you to be

here when both of us

get back.

Friday, October 22, 2010

St. Philip, Bishop, and Companions

dear lover of the hereafter,

that’s as far as you can go

in this country

before your hat floats.

I know I’ve sealed up

the doors and windows

with the thickest ribbons,

but you’ve got to stop

running from everything

that scares you.

you’ve got to stop

finding yourself

standing in the kitchen

in the middle of the night,

not knowing how you got there,

searching the ground for a glass

that was never shattered.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

St. Ursula (patron of archers, students, and orphans)

a veritable tsunami of ribs, shoulder blades, and femurs...arranged in zigzags and swirls and even in the shapes of Latin words.

-Quigley, Christine, Skulls and Skeletons: Human Bone Collections and Accumulations

I dreamed about loose bones

lining the creases in the walls,

hanging from the chandeliers.

this passio is completely

fabulous. I sweat through

all these layers of sheets

as if I am breaking out

of an onion.

a bear with claws like

crescent moons smooths

a paw over my hair, around

the loose threads of my

nightgown. its eyes are

as gold as an arrow

flying straight from

the sun.

the bones glow, my bed

shakes with all this weight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Paul of the Cross

you are what is known as

the underside of a plum,

a tiny pocket of pink

from a grapefruit.

burst it open with

the weight of your tongue

and find a coal mine.

a diamond is a diamond

is a diamond.

wear black and blend in

with all of the feathers.

your eyes are apples

bruised on all sides.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

St. John de Brebeuf (patron of Canada)

I’ve been touched

and I’ve been touched

and the corn withers

and bends. golden hair

to golden ground.

I’ve been touched

and I’ve been touched

and the pond freezes

nearly solid. I step

forward. I crack though.

I’ve been touched

and I’ve been touched

and I make necklaces

of burning coal. red clouds

bloom on my collarbone.

I’ve been touched

and I’ve been touched

and the idea of us

drowned in the sun,

in the shade, in the morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

St. Luke (patron of artists, physicians, & surgeons)

take the appendix and

paint it with all the reds

of those high notes,

the blues behind

your eyes.

lean into it. draw a circle

and test the curves of

the lungs.

stretch them wide

open, find the trees

at their centers.

take a goldfish

and let it swim

in your chest.

see the light

beneath your ribs.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

St. John the Dwarf

this is not a poem about mouths--or teeth

or the holes that bore their way into teeth

or about how the mouth is a hole that leads


it is about planting dry wood and waiting

for it to sprout, to take root, to circle down

to the center and find something like a


like a lilac as full as your belly, as violet

as veins on your thighs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

St. Hedwig (patron of queens and a United Europe)

I had a dream about you

and the pines that have taken root

and the cups that rattle in the cupboards

and the sink that drips enough to make a bowl of punch

and the black cross that hums above the headboard of your bed

and the foot that grows cold after learning that you are, indeed, a woman king.

and the roses that fell out of your apron with the weight of the whole town in their petals.

Friday, October 15, 2010

St. Teresa of Avila (patron of bodily ills, lacemakers, people in need of grace)

I keep no company, store no

goldenrod in these seams, no

crinoline in my teeth, no

signs of wear on these hands.

There is no twist in the ivy

to mirror the veins in this skin.

I try to hold these devotions

of silence in the space under

my breasts. God tells me I am

a blessing of tears. He left me

all on fire.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Callistus I

our house burned from the

ground up. the neighbors

crowded to their windows

to watch. their greasy cheeks

left smudges on the glass.

if only they knew it was

only the leaves. the fruit cellar

full of oranges. the porch

covered in pumpkins. the trees

so red against the storm.

we were finally warm,

content with how we were

always biting our lips ‘till

they bled, ‘till they were

bright enough to burst

into flame.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Edward the Confessor

the basement flooded,

like you said it would,

and the tricycle floated

up to the ceiling.

the pool balls bobbed

then sank, while the cue sticks

became the least efficient

kind of oars.

I put my toes in the water

from the top of the stairs,

watched photographs

of you swell and sail

around the tops of lamps.

I worried that I might

get electrocuted. I worried

that I should have been

saving something.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

St. Wilfrid

the forest was hostile

this evening--all teeth

and spit running down

the front of my dress.

like it cracked an egg

right down the front of me.

I washed my body and

where I dumped out the water,

a pine tree grew. the branches

shook with electricity.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bruno the Great

your teeth are

a little short

of royal.

those purple velvet

gums look cheap.

there is a lantern under

your bed and the light

makes the sky

seem closer,

like it could lick my face

or the backs of my knees.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

St. Francis Borgia (patron against earthquakes)


open mouth slowly to show teeth.

come unhinged.

pull at the stitches in your hem.


although tonight is a basket

of rotten moons, there are still

nails in the hay.


skirts bloat and sink

in the water, billow and fall

in the open air.


if I knew how to be

knee deep in water,

I’d have pockets full of wool.


Jesus taught me to count angels

and to keep things neat

at home.