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
when bones go to statues
& assumption is