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Saints didn't eat very much but then saints are Catholic,
puppets of the Pope, and we are Baptists dunked
in the water of his love. They baptize me when I'm twelve.
The congregation crowding the river, a carnival crowd
"Come see the human pincushion, the alligator boy, cursed
by the Babylonian priest of the moss." But this crowd
is still. They don't have to push to the front for tickets.
"Leanne have you found God," asks Preacher Dowlin?
"Yes, I found him." I answer. He waits for a moment, wanting
the usual firecracker holy babble to tumble from my throat
like an acrobat. "Look folks, no net" But I don't oblige him
so we stand there, people waiting for a bus. The holy roller express.
"And where did you find the Lord, Leanne?" "Hiding behind my parents' bed."
Whenever I want not to be here, I crawl into the space
between my parents' bed and the wall, wedge myself into that rectangle,
happy because no one looks for a person behind their parents' bed.
It was there I felt God in my
I watch you again
and again as though
you are demonstrating
resuscitation ... resurrection,
pushing air back into
dying lungs, the needle
sliding so slowly
into your skin, your
body into mine.
Paradésio en tierre.
"A fuckin' perfect high, man."
My body is imperfect,
an euphoria balanced
on a pause, the pressure
of mouth on a breast,
between a thigh. They say
I should save you.
But how can I? When all
I can offer is an
earth on earth.
Glass is dried light.
What we cannot touch
now holds our wine.
Yet once caught,
a nervous hand, brown grit will shatter it.
My words are dried perceptions.
What I cannot say
now fills the silence.
A strained image, a hesitation ...
What I give to you
is a thing alien to itself.
For the first time, the angels sleep. They perch in trees
above the river where the women wash.
Drunk on the angels' mulled breath,
the women wrap wet linen
around their hips and spin, the angels' snores
buzzing in their bones. They pound the dirt flat,
the earth humming, a beehive beneath their feet.
Mary pirouettes, whirls and shimmers,
her unbound hair eddies through the air
as though she is still a virgin. The child crouches piggyback
on an angel's shoulder, his hands twined
in the angel's mane. None of the women see them,
and he laughs. Ollie, ollie, oxen free,
he's safe. The angels dream of clay pots,
hot ground meal and asses' milk. They dream of sleeping,
their bodies curled around each other like snuffling, drooping puppies.
Heaven has yet to exist.
Does God rage in my bones
or is it the flu?
a bed of nails, a dog of stones.
If I could press my spine flat against the nails,
curl like a badger between the paws of my cold dog,
perhaps I could read my visions
as a blind hand reads braille.
Is it my death or the world's that trails me,
a hound with a collar and dented tags.
I envy the saints,
their sores, boils and bloody palms.
Our pain is simply pain.
When I was four,
they sliced me open,
fixed my heart with knives.
There is no rapture in this,
only that I lived
and they saved,
hating my pain and feasting death.
"Jesus saves," I read the bumper sticker.
"For what," I asked my mother?
For red whips of licorice, caramels that bled?
"Jesus saves you,"
she answers absentmindedly.
Later that night I dreamt
I was packed in shoebox,
saved like a favored marble, a ribbon scrap.
Now you once love,
now only lover
Twenty-three years before the crippling of Crown Prince James III
He was fourteen and she was probably aged about the same, give or take a few years. It had been an hour since he'd met her.
He hated her already.
She scowled behind him and likely shared the sentiment as they scampered up the hillside in a desperate attempt to escape the roaring mob that seemed to be growing perpetually larger and coming ever-closer. Gabriel would have liked to say that it was all her fault he was in this situation, though it was his careless nicking ofwhat was it? A chicken that started the first old woman running, but how was he supposed to know that she'd stumble and fall and everyone else would think he'd assaulted her?
He hadn't. He'd taken the chicken, snapped its neck and run, because he hadn't eaten meat in weeks and he was starting to feel the affects on his already weak limbs.
This is what happens, he thought. This is what happens when you live like th
Little Miss It“Do you enjoy her company?”
That, Avadaci concluded, had been the extent of his grandfather’s kindness. Thank the stars he had broken his neck after a failed attempt to ascend the castle staircase. Not that many were privy to this information. The official listing on the cause of death involved something along the lines of falling in battle after slaying at least a dozen demons, although this was treated with quite a bit of skepticism by the general populace. Yet, interestingly enough, a decent portion of the locals believed a tale about the cannibals of Unkhtom devouring him whole.
Not that Avadaci really cared how his grandfather had died. He was just glad he was dead. And if he was glad his grandfather had died, Avadaci wondered, why did he have to attend his funeral? In fact, the whole kingdom was glad his grandfather had died. Why did they have to attend the funeral?
“Oh Avad,” proclaimed his mother, “obv
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