Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Andrew (patron of Scotland)

I kissed you from the

dusty curb underneath

the guard rail.

How I ended up here,

I’ll run through my mind

over and over until I

trace it back to that bottle,

those glasses shining

from the fireplace mantle.

my mouth was full

of ink and everything

I pressed my lips on

remembered me

from class, or high school,

or the checkout line

at the grocery store.

I shift in my shoes.

I didn’t mean to write

all these stories

with my kisses.

Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Saturnin of Toulouse

you made a cheap promise

that you’d hold me when

the bulls started to run.

a fear of hooves. a fear

of rippling brown hides.

I have a memory

of leaning out

these windows,

watching the animals

take to the cobblestones.

I let my scarf flutter

down to the street.

It disappeared

in a rush of muscle.

everything was

reduced to thread.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

St. Catherine Laboure (introduced the Miraculous Medal)

oh, all these faint lights

under my bed?

those are the graces

for which people

forget to ask.

oh, this medal

hanging between

the freckles on my chest?

it’s just a skeleton

key to the afterlife.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. James Intercisus

an onion to bring into

the light. an onion to

summon the rain. an

onion to sleep in my

top drawer. an onion

to make it easier to cry.

an onion to make me

forget my hometown.

an onion to redden cheeks.

an onion to swerve

the car off the road.

make the first cut.

Friday, November 26, 2010

St. Leonard of Port Maurice

perhaps there is another kind

of peace. it lives further

than the bathwater can reach.

there are thousands of eyes

waiting on the other side

of the window.

you fog up the glass

with your mouth

so they can’t see in.

it is simpler than they know.

leave us be. we will tie up

our own ends as if they are

the loose threads of a quilt.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

St. Catherine of Alexandria (patron of unmarried girls and crafters who work with a wheel)

your neck is a phantom,

your bones are warmer

than I imagined.

this wheel is truth,

is beginning, is ending.

I filled your pillow with coins.

you left me a lock of your hair

on the windowsill, tied together

with the reddest ribbon.

there is a secret place

where we will meet again.

it is thick with moss. it is

covered with thread stretched

so tight. heaven knows I’d

cross the creek to make a bed

between the darkest pines.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

St. Andrew Dung Lac

on this motorbike,

I hold my hymnal

as if it was my first born.

we teeter dangerously close

to the bumpers of trucks,

towering baskets of chickens.

I close my eyes and imagine

that the spokes of this bike

catch the hem of my skirt,

send me sprawling into the street.

somewhere, my mother hears

me fall. somewhere, my bones

have shaken loose.

they burst into snow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bl. Miguel Agustin Pro

I found you to have

such an exquisite wit,

never coarse, always sparkling.

I also envisioned my love

for you as an anthill

in the crease of the sidewalk.

as all those tiny legs scurried home,

I kicked their house in.

Monday, November 22, 2010

St. Cecilia (patron of musicians and poets)

in death, songs are different--

like hearing them from the

beginning of a tunnel,

from the light that comes

from elsewhere.

they slant off-key, lose their

balance on the stairs, get caught

in the lacy hems of their skirts.

when teeth hit the edge of a step,

that is a song in and of itself.

steam rushes out,

turns everything

to white.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Solemnity of Christ the KIng

you walked in


and found me

singing to all

the animals.

their coats

buzzed and hummed

along with my song.

I fed them

sugar cubes

out of my

cupped hand.

they accepted

with pink tongues

and perked ears.

I offered you

a little white cube.

it melted

in your hand

before you reached

your mouth.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

St. Felix of Valois

you build a thousand little houses

and I found myself alive

in all of them.

passing from one door

into the other, they felt like

chambers of the heart.

the blue dinnerplates

were lined up so neatly

on the shelves, while tissues

poked out of their boxes

at just the right angles.

the glass of water waiting

on the nightstand for me

was deeper than I ever imagined.

Friday, November 19, 2010

St. Pontian

I fall asleep to the mantra

I can wait

I can wait

I can wait

as the first hail of the season

tackles the thin glass

of my window.

I get into bed in nothing

but a nightgown. The heater

clicks on in the middle of my dreams

and sets my whole world aflame.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

St. Rose Philippine Duchense

when there is a mouth

that needs fed, take the jars

of dried marigold blossoms

and fill it.

each seed is an hour

badly spent.

these days,

I keep all my faults

in the woodshed

‘till winter.

I burn them

when I’m cold.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St. Elisabeth of Hungary (patron of hospitals, nurses, bakers, & brides)


one night, my fingers

turned into skeleton keys.

I tried to open all

your doors.

my affection for you

now stands, knees knocked,

arm in a plaster white cast.


I played a song

just for you

on the radio.

I faltered when I held

the mic to my mouth,

stuttered my way through

names & titles.


I opened the oven

and my bread had turned

to roses.

the petals curled in the heat,

against the dead of winter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

St. Margaret of Scotland (patron of Scotland)

still waters run deep

enough to drown in.

I let it all go--my breath

my nipped-in waist,

the curl that hung in front

of only my left ear.

the water was loud,

the depths were quiet,

the cattails lobbed their

heavy heads over in the wind.

there are good days

where I look like myself.

there are bad days

where I come back confused,

claiming to be changed,

convinced that this birthmark

is just a shadow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

St. Albert the Great (patron of the natural sciences)

the earth leaned towards me

on its wiry axis and counted

each and every thing

I am currently

doing wrong.

I told it I wanted to be

an empty store front,

a sill of chipping paint,

a pigeon hunched

on the rungs of a ladder.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

St. Lawrence O'Toole (patron of Dublin)

we lie awake. we count

the glasses of water

that line the nightstand,

leave rings behind.

I was worried that

my lungs had fallen out.

I shook you. I opened

your mouth with my fingers.

you peered into my chest

with golden binoculars

and assured me that everything

was in tact. pulsing. breathing.

without you,

I have not a penny

under the sun

to leave anyone.

on the other side

of the window,

the neighbor boy runs

down the street, trailing

a jump rope behind him.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (patron of immigrants)

nowadays the world

is lit by lightning.

forget the way

everything looks

from the vineyard--

all iced-over, glassy

beads of fruit.

we overlook

the lake in silence.

I drove out here

to tell you something.

I drove out here

to sing and not

be heard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

St. Josaphat

in the back of that

wide cadillac, you took

all the apples from the kitchen

along for the ride.

I am not made of machines

or gears that wind in the night,

but the stuff that drowns

in little swimming pools

of light.

you left, took my fruits

with you, held down the horn

and like a storm, you rolled out

of this town. I asked you to

wave goodbye, or hello--

just a wave.

you couldn’t even do that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Martin of Tours (patron of France, soldiers, and horses)

I was chased ‘till my heart

grew thin. the needles in

my lungs shook like a great pine

over a slumping roof.

with just a little more weight,

the whole thing will crush

my bed, these woven wicker baskets,

the blue bottles lining all the sills.

please come back, curl up in

my ribs. I don’t even remember

what my biggest fears are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

St. Leo the Great

I stood at the foot

of the bed and told you

how great I thought you were--

how your arms were like

great silver bridge beams,

your legs like spiraling turrets.

in your cheeks, there must

be something that mimics

the sun.

when I was finished,

the deer standing outside

our window turned to glass.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome

you told me that

in a crisis, we should

stop making beautiful things.

there’s not much need

these days.

so, I took out my suitcase,

dusted off the top

and slowly opened

the tarnished latches.

I climbed inside.

I pierced the red lining

with a pin--

light shone through

from the yellow of the room.

I’ll make my own stars.