Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letter To St. Catherine (Of Siena)

[in honor of Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni]

siena's stars look down on me.

St. Catherine-
from pitch-true tiles of pink and green

on crumbling walls in a picture book

I trace-

camelia faces of the early martyrs

torn from very light
though leaning into a wind I cannot see-
they're still - still - shining...

like a crystal that can't quite dissolve-


lean out of a crackling anguish

I cannot explain-

fix on a vision barely

out of view in
this mosaic's span

with faces kind

like home, as you remember it-

the distance widens and

I'm by myself, rehearsing no
brief candle's exit

but praying sotto voce at the

temp agencies God please get
me out of here from so

many office windows vistaless;

bring the ladder of prismatic light
and lead me out in my

robin's egg blue dress

a thin disguise but you will understand
I'm in the color of your sky-
reading the clockface wrong
and in disgrace-

but gold slips through the interstices

of cracked venetian blinds though everything
else excoriates-

and whispers that I'm not in trouble-

and there's a word I want to say
if only I knew how-
to crack the
strange veneer of this captivity:

that it's the moon washed gold to silver

through clouds good angels hold in place
for such a little while

and poppy red is a

dress for Christmas Eve that crackles like
a new bought star you can't put on yet: you're

hiding your old paint-box under "P"

and clutching the rose-threaded book of
hours they must - not - see...

I'll see again

through white enameled rain
the rainbowed sequenced eyelash
I cannot explain

the radiance on the wall of my lost islands.

let steps on the pavement fade

and history's parchments

matter less and less than
purloined arrows bouncing off the sun-

there's nothing in the mail

when you get off the bus and run
toward a beryl glory richly rung
where once the noise of shadows
swallowed prayer

and lied: "The King is Dead".

let lesser kings brush by to your dismay
the rose eclat of your

lost teardrop's

coda smudged...
and the unopened envelope
stranded on the table

like a lost country.

Castaway, they're leaving

their last scar
said His decree,
on purple unruled paper-

I'll be the child

of white cathedral rains
released from school
and pearl-drenched in the end

and on the very page

a snowy word waits for me
in a poppy colored light

a nosegay,

valentine set in bloom
paper-airplane blown from God's own
curio hand and spiraling past the

campanile in the picture

at the right place in the music
so that childish classroom voices
chime out "o-oh...!"

and doubled up in velvet of

the Princess' train and still
in love with God you're finding

all you can't explain leaning

out of the window set with jewels
who could replace-

and off to the side and smiling

barely out of view
with raspberry shrub fresh-made
on the Christmas porch

with golden chicken salad golden apple laced

on haloed toast points, lightly buttered
with wax paper greetings - marbled cake

with a scrolled and silver music still unwinding

sprung from an anguish I cannot explain,
the cherished faces wreathed in pink and green
you missed from home-

mary angela douglas 6-7, 10 november 2010