Seven Days With Saint Mary This bed is full though nothing is in it. I know the radiation, the nuclear devastation of dragons who came from nowhere to lay down their heads, bellies empty of fire, serpents from Eden who bent themselves together so to remember; a coiling sheet holds sentience, and the window’s light glows over. Anorexia lingers next to me, without a blanket. Nothing covers that white bone sketched in hungry fingernail marks, that membrane of veins beholden to clicking. Brow as stretched chitin. Not one. Not one weak hair makes it out. Only the strongest ones survive now. I rest my back upon the Barlaam grave and feel the plunge like getting skinny. The ceiling has no soul, neither the door, the wall nor floor. The window tries, but doesn’t quite make it—no gazes to care. Someone’s squealing in some room somewhere and it pricks, so the volume on the television goes high. Someone knocks me. Padding feet run out so full of giggling. Radios pile all the waves. There is no air here, just the recycling screams of everyone who comes here to die. Depakote dreams pulsate everything. Straps wait in the wings starving for fleshy struggles. No light makes it to the center. There is not a single opening there. Only the chambers of the whale heart leading to the people who mouth the tile so to lick the feet sweat. Odd things remind us of the world outside. Like taste. We’ve wont to touch anything with our lips when the orderlies aren’t looking. We’ll smear pen ink on our tongues, crunch pencil lead into our molars. Suck our palms while we rock so to remind ourselves what the sea was like. All the bulbs make us salivate, spraying with some god who could save us. I miss the flowers. The cold. The sound of wind. All that is here is the tinking of the heat, the stifling blasts like a goat’s ragged breath. My enjoyments, the coloring books that haven’t been used up, the bibles that still have bindings. When I dream I only dream of all the myriad of ways to escape rape, of any kind. My memory is leaving. It’s fleeing so to make room for all the chemicals and primitive jerks that keep me always vigilant, sleeping with one eye open. The bed is my serenity, for it is the one thing that is mine. No one dictates when I go to it, leave it, what things I choose to fill it with. Saint Mary whirrs in a yammer bell saying that it is all over. Carefully and learnt I say, “All is fine.”
“Seven Days With Saint Mary” was first published in Sacred Chickens November 2021. This is this poem’s first time appearing on this blog or anywhere else.