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(04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

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The Year I Almost Became A Catholic by Raul Voz

(translated from the Spanish by Warren Falcon)

The year I almost became a Catholic
5 stars rose from your breasts in Spring.
My nest was a sudden disturbance in blue.

A veil

a floating head

bleeding thorns

adorned your white throat.

I fled from my boat after one
long night of fishing only to
arrive ashore with torn nets
and apparitions upon my knees.

Without will my cursing ceased.

I discovered I was speechless.

I learned to speak with my hands.
Curious circular clouds surrounded
particular heads without logic.

Genuflections strange rearranged
the air in front of my chest while I
sat upon or hid my left hand.

Purple became everything dear.

Roses diminished before your
bare feet treading upon a serpent,
a tourniquet of gold each ankle
entwining.

Virgin stars minus 5 surrounded
your curved shape defiant of robes
meant to convey the holy restraining
in my groin.

Odd collections mounted in the attic
where I retired to cloister and wait.

Leaden pilgrimage up and down pointless
stairs accumulated distance.

My beard became a convention of lepers and bells.


Fingernail parings

clumps of hair

bits of flesh

sacks of ears


all were relics in the making.


I became an accountant listing and numbering each holy scrap.

I tried not to be critical but my eyes lied.

I could not confess except by pencil,
leaving notes and grease stains
for the priest to interpret.

Absolution my hope,
a mute vow was my prosthesis.

Then Spring returned.

My boat sank. All mended nets,
a year's work, were lost.

Nothing to do.

I return to you, a parenthesis in the sea of loneliness.

Each star, each breast, you have removed
in my absence, mourning made permanent,
scars upon your throat oddly fish-shaped.

Astonished, my voice returns, curses then caresses,
withered left hand free to unravel regret nerve for
nerve, the only net worth mending.

I reserve this one strange act from a year of orthodoxy,

to anoint your feet with tears.

I dry them with my hair, your outstretched arms
a beseeching beyond emptiness, your chest barren
but for my hands remembering the uses of prayer,
kisses but murmurs, rumored stars where swollen sails had been.

Submitted: Saturday, October 01, 2011
Edited: Friday, October 05, 2012


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