Lives of the saints with persecution remind us
we have promises to keep, for the lie whether fresh
on the lips or from long convenience makes conscience
hoe-down beneath our step the word of that first
equinox, the grass dry and no spring rain nor thunder
in July. The heart is said and the foetus once
formed, there is murder to prevent the inevitable
kick and cry. Heavy with forgetting the red cunning
of petals bruises and lets loose in pools a sickly
blood, we have tied our ankles with cords thin and cautious
as willow leaves and walked among the peonies where
laughter dried in the sun and no wall to weep against.

We have promises to keep. Baking in the sun, the forever
cake dissembles a flower we plucked from profusion
of grasses while we meditated hunger. Now the flower
is hungry too, and Rita the wound burning a crimson bud
in her forehead reminds us of the time for planting.
Agnes the flames could not devour nor man’s eye
nor beast, succumbs her white fragility headless,
and the Holy Innocents in the grieving arms where the
blasphemous sacring flung them wear their ghosts like
vows we made. O clement and terrible, burning, drowning,
the earth in their mouth, and all singing and festival,
procession, profusion, persecution, reminding us.


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