Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Our Lady of the Ruins

We exhausted ourselves
            with every available pleasure,                                    
tied ourselves to chairs,
                        naked and disobedient.                        Their bodies dusted
                                                                                     with the sex of flowers
Inside our bodies, it was night.                                                          
                        God knew what we asked for               it is the bees that call me
            but would not return our shame.                                            
                                                                                     from the bottom
One day the walls wept your image.                            of the lake
            When we painted over it,                                                       
                        your face bled through,                      
appeared to us in the image of our mother,                No one remembers me
                        but penitent, adoring.                          not even           the rain
You should know we are guilty.                                                        
                        We raised more demons                     Once, before I was named
than we could lay down.                                             I lived as a woman
                        So what if we’re haunted.                                                     
            So what if we’ve stopped dreaming.                         
                                                                                    Nothing followed me              
We are sensitive to the tides
                        and the lighthouse burning                                        
for ships that never arrive.                                          I could name every plant
The rumors are true.    Delirium found us.                   knew the weather
                                                                                    before it announced itself
We oiled and kissed a stranger’s burnt feet.
                        We held pigeons under water
            until their gnarled hearts stopped                   My hands picked peaches
                        fluttering in our hands.                        kneaded dough
                                                                                    dug in fresh black earth
            When we unwound their intestines
                        looking for the message,
we found         blood            hollow bones.                  Now they push mushrooms
                                                                                    through the loam
Don’t tell us we’re too late.                                          beneath a fox’s skull
                        We swear we’re not saved.
                                                                                    Now they lead ants
We are ravished and unclean.                                     to the dead mouse
We left blood in the bowl for you
            and the tips of our fingers.                              I was vanishing
                                                                                    but now I return
We forsake the eastern star.                                       
            Take us by the hair.                                         In a dress sewn
                        Lead us past                                        from my shroud
the ignorant light,                                                       
            past a God who threatens                              I will meet you
                        to love all that we are.                        where the cross burns  end

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