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A poem by Nicholas Laughlin

Published in The Strange Years of My Life
and previously in The Warwick Review, June 2009

Bodies of the Saints

Flowers: so their lips, their nacred
auricles, their burning finger-
tips: they show us first how flesh
is holy incandescence, our flesh
too (foreheads pressed to hips,
to thighs, to knees), the smudge of blue
and scent of roses, turpentine,
we carry after in our skin
(and other relics smuggled in:
their torn shirts, kerchiefs soiled),
each scrap of paper (clean as flesh)
illumined by their silence, how
they make of breathing wanting, make
of wanting grace: so we are martyrs
now to craving, we ignite
and all complacence burns away
till pure and blossoming we stay,
insatiable we moan and hymn
and pray: at last, sublime, we take
unsolace of their silvered limbs:
at their altars, naked, stand:
they are burning in our hands.


Read more poems by Nicholas Laughlin