by Stephen Mead

Artwork, “Elliot”  by Jack Savage

Thighs of the pieta, that slender girth

of the firm, the soft, marble-veined

as the minerals in warm blood, warm salt—–

Rain washes over, scrubbing off stains.

Clouds pass, shadows, & the moon comes

with blue ointment in the span of trees.

Rays sift down anointing where chisels came,

where papery sand buffed.  Reflections

were in such gestures, & weather resembles

them, an ocean’s rhythm in air itself.

So breath can ripple skin, bounce against

senses, & the sensation is sacred

as a dipping in, a ladling out.

Here is incense, time’s symbolic smoke.

Here is hot wax, the tears of a candle

melting from within, welling to spill.

Here’s how we

erupt, as drips, as trickles, as a geyser’s

rush shuddering secretions on,

shuddering from flesh otherwise open

& contained as a rose.

Oh sacred mystery, the subterranean

presentation, a root flowering from rock—–

You must know of christenings, the brows

& the fingers, & must know of wafers, the

sanctity of tongues, of love, sacrificial,

a sanctuary of deepest recesses, deepest

marrow, the only institution

ordaining spirit

when bones go to statues

& assumption is


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