Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Self-Deliverance with a Line from George Herbert

I want a body with another body to be the soul
in paraphrase, the heart in pilgrimage, plummet

sounding heaven and earth. I haven’t seen the moon
in a week. Maybe it’s time to give penance a try,

time to translate the saint’s bones from one reliquary
to another. Time to wander and worship in a new far-off.

Can I say it? I am of a darker nature, one that might ask
a man to do something worth repenting. Say, a harness.

Say, a whip. Say, pleasure any way I want it. I want a body
with another body to say more than words. The light

furrowing of nails on shoulder blades to signify you
and forever and yes. A hand on a breast to signify: I want

you like a pious woman wants God’s middle finger to scrape
the psalm from her tongue. The child I carry turns in the dark

of its first loneliness, thumb in its mouth, learning
what it must. I’d like to think that love for one kills desire

for all others. I’d like to think my doubts prove I hunger
for the eternal, but I am wet and Sapphic like any good

sinner, all sad cry and gentle astonishment that a body
with another body burns brief and desperate as prayer.  

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