Friday, December 31, 2010

St. Sylvester I


with heaven as my witness,

there are not enough pines

to fill this hollow heart.


escape into the woods.

from the bottom of a ravine,

you cannot hear the ice crack

under her feet.


crack your whip

and see how many birds

come looping out

of holes in the trees.


one rabbit will bound

out of a thicket.


brave the thistles.


get close enough

to see yourself

in its marble eyes.


find yourself

beginning again.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

St. Egwin

you tried to explain heaven,

but I just couldn’t wrap

my head around it.


it was like a carnival

with all the lights on,


but the rides grind

themselves to

stock-still.


the ride operator winks,

lifts up his straw hat,

and suddenly, he is

buried in a rainfall

of torn tickets.


the sun is so spicy.

it burns my hands

as I exit the ride.


will these blisters scar?

is my love-line forever broken?


does God really

take me as I am?



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St. Thomas Becket


it looked like wine

spilled and fanned out

over the tiles of the cathedral.


the O of your mouth

was a window. it made me

nervous just to look into it.


I saw some words

caught in the pools

of your cheeks.


there were birds

resting in the beds

of your molars.


this room is hollow,

your eyes are still

wide open.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Holy Innocents


I lined up all my collections

down the center line of the highway:


feathers, coins, stamps, shells,

porcelain cats, ticket stubs--


to see how far they’d take me.

I just wanted to be more irresistible.


all the letters that tumbled through

or mail slot told me I wasn’t quite

right. I was what wasn’t.


I'm banking on the fact

that a new year is coming.


it shines like newly-washed fruit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

St. John


your thighs are

the turrets to

my house


you said to me

as I took a bite

out of an apple


that didn’t taste

like much of

anything at all.


your teeth

are diamonds

I found in the snow


you said to me

as I tossed the core

into the bathtub


just to see it float.


I didn’t tell you

what I did last night

because I knew

you’d scream.


you said to me

as the apple bobbed


and the water

grew cold.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

St. Stephen


go slow.

start with the

smallest stones.


little hunks of quartz,

penny-sized hematite,

a tiny piece of asphalt

stuck to the wheel of

a bicycle.


next, find the smoothest

and flattest--perfect for skipping.

they will glide right across

the slope of my stomach.


if you can,

with your two strong arms,

I want you to get

the stone virgin mary statue

from down the block.


uncurl the vines from her robes,

pull her out of the flowerbed.


she will be heavier

than you always thought.


throw her.

pick her up,

throw her again.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Nativity


you are the bravest thing

to ever fall down these

hardwood stairs.


you asked me

to spot you

and your weak ankles,

but I couldn’t help


looking away--

towards the red

warnings about snow

that flashed from

the television.


I want to bury

everything. You


want to unearth

it all. It’s falling now.

Friday, December 24, 2010

St. Adele


all these women

frozen solid

on the vine.


they curve up

the spine of our roof,

in and around

the windowsills,

and down the creases

of our stairs.


I’ve never seen

so many eyes

so grey, so many fingers

with white knuckles.


I’ve asked each

and every one

if they would like

a bath drawn.


they stare straight

on till morning.

not a word.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

St. John of Kanty (patron of Poland)


rock me like

an empty swing.


the only place

I’ve ever lost

my teeth is in

this pond.


love is murky.

I found it

limping


somewhere

in this cold.


I had forgotten

what it feels like


to fall on the ice,

to bruise my shins,


to come home to a bed

full of smoke.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Chaeremon

this is what I know

of the city:


you turn a corner

with the snow

coming at you

sideways


and there you are.

now you can break

into an angry thing.


start a little fire

from old silks


in the bungalow

of your lungs.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

St. Peter Canisius (patron of the Catholic Press & Germany)


I treated you right

only to find an empty spot

on the right side of the bed.


I fell apart

underwater.


all I could find

were tiny graves

for all of the dead stars.



Monday, December 20, 2010

St. Dominic of Silos (patron against rabies)

your hair pitted its gold

against the shortest day

of the year.


the moon was so full

that it spilled over

the highway.


all of our cars

stuck in the light

as if it were honey.


we floated towards

each other as if

we were teenage hands


fumbling under seats

at the movies.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bl. Urban V


the goldfish floated like silk

at the top of their tank.


you were asleep

in a coral pink

oversized chair, so

I retired to the bath.


once out of my clothes,

I stepped in quietly,


disappeared below

the milky surface.


the vineyards on

the other side

of the glass

are encased in ice.


the winter

swallowed

them whole.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

St. Gatianus of Tours

(a found/erasure poem)

sprung from the grottos

in the cliff,

a winding staircase

in the latest taste.


explore its recesses.


sacred niches of rock

will give you an impression

if you cannot do without one.


They have been dealt with

as the Catholic church deals

with most of such places today;


polished and furnished up;

labelled and ticketed,

edited, with notes like an old book.


The afternoon was lovely,

and it was flushing to a close.


The large garden stretched,

blooming with fruit and wine

and succulent vegetables,

and beyond it flowed the shining river.


The air was still, the shadows

were full of memories,

most of which might pass for virtuous

Friday, December 17, 2010

St. Begga


legends are wrapped in foil

and waiting in the fridge.


leftovers from last night’s party.


this all started with a wink,

a story that ran from your grasp,

wound its way around all of our hips.


the vines kept climbing

toward the bedroom window,

so I cut them with a butterknife.


they dangled from the sill

like a torn hem of a curtain,


like your shirt over

the tops of your thighs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

St. Adelaide (patron of brides and princesses)


I waited for something

that was bound to arrive.


the train would speed

through the tunnel

and bring the light

with it. I was sure of it.


I pressed my face

to the glass. My lips

left a cherry-shaped

print behind.


The newspaper slapped

the front door. I ran

to reach it.


Headline: Museum Dinosaurs Collapse!

Clouds of Bones Near our Feet!


I folded myself

in half. I knew it

must be the end.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

St. Valerian & Martyrs in Africa

I stood pale

against the wind,


tugged at the fat

around my hips,


and cracked my

knuckles into place.


there is red smoke

billowing out

of the barn.


I do not know how

to put the fires out.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

St. Jucundus


you taught me how to

gallop away from myself.


there were spurs on

the edges of the sun.


I shook all the flowers

out of my hair and


wove them in and out

of all these ribs.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Lucy (patron of the blind)

when you admired my eyes,

I imagined them out of my body.


they were blossoms.

I almost lost them

in the snow.


they were light

on a golden plate.


bright and blinking, they will

help us through the shortest

day of the year.


there is just enough darkness

for a carnival to whirl into motion.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

St. Thomas of Holland

the smokestacks of this town

look so beautiful when I think of them

as your legs, long and lean.


you tap the edge of the sky

with your big toe.


even with all this coal dust

smeared across the bridge

of my nose, I felt beautiful.


all the frames shook themselves

off of the wall as the train passed.


I imagined the tracks, all hot

and smooth. The cat cried out,

hid under the bed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

St. Damasus I


I walked to the edge

and stepped out onto the ice.


it was like the end of a sentence

of a blustering white paragraph.


I’ve forgotten how to use

punctuation in my speech,


so I just stop. I scratch my ear.

I pull cherries out of my blouse


and toss them onto the white.

I came here to ask something,


but it is too quiet and I am

too close to falling through.