On darker Sunday mornings when the walls
Of the old sanctuary are barely filled with an echo,
And they pass the plastic cup down through the fingers
Of the strangers in my pew, I reach out
And suck the holy grape juice into my cheek,
Wishing I could hold a whispering deity like that--
Like a warm velvet liquid that flows through my teeth
And forces swallowing.
In the evenings, darker still, after driving home
And brushing my teeth, I sink myself into you
With the expectation of tasting your flesh
Down the long lick of my body.
My body, the catacomb of spent pleasures,
Lies under the covers awaiting audience.
Under the hushed breath rush of our meeting,
With the dull panegyric pealing like new church bells,
I am wishing I could hold a breathing God like that--
Like a love that laces my palms full of holes
And gives warm flesh.
The dank empty dark of the lunar eclipse
Sends my hand in the arc of a half-moon
To your pillow, fingering for slivers of breath.
My palms come up satin-filled, unholy,
Gaping at the loss of something sacred.
Out with you- out- out with your memory,
Out with the taste of your flesh on my tongue,
Out with the draught of wine, out with the touch,
Out with the feeling that's under the skin.
But in the morning, I wake up with you
On my breath, with that suspended
Knowledge of things hoped for and half-touched.
The moon takes to a carrel to study the sun,
And I wonder what it is to hold out a hand
In the dark like a moon and to know
That the emptiness holds and intangible breath
That touches my blood, that touches my flesh,
That whispers blunt nails through the thick of my palms
Until I start to feel under my skin
That the catacomb is audienced
And a new song is ringing through the hollows.
I found this poem that I wrote in a very old journal from when I was a virgin and a teenager. It was one of those poems that just came to me as if from someone else, and I still don't feel as if it came from me as I read it, but I still like it. It's always charmed me with its strangeness.