Poetry at Sangam




The top part of the flower which receives the pollen.  A small scar
or opening in plant or animal.  Mark of shame.  Bodily marks
resembling the wounds of Christ.  Pain from such.  Sometimes
  So much is there to learn about stigmata.  Consider
Thomas, a Christian amongst Romans.  Who tells them:
I am Thomas, who dwells amongst you.  And so am I
Philip K. Dick, far traveler, who dwells here amongst Thomas.

Consider my father, Thomas, who orders his son to bury
the  charcoals—now.  Even as they waver, unravel
the eyes.  I kneel in the dirt, shovel stabbing the Long Island
earth.  To beatify.  To purify the history of charred wood.  My knee
presses upon uncoiled coal.  Without knowing, the flesh
flowers.  Consider Francis, where he bled.  From the wound
in hand and foot, slit in the right side, he speaks: Hold open
thy gash.  Read to it” nursery rhyme, law book, autopsy report,
seed catalog, hymnal, anatomy book, train schedule.
  Let us
consider.  Bart, the corpse cat.  Killed by a car.  Bury him here,
says the owner.  Not too deep, to keep him near.
  Five days
later, at the back of the door, smelling of open grave: the corpse
cat, Bart.  Place thy finger here, says Thomas, onto his broken
jaw, that deadened eye.  Thrust thy hand deep into his side.

In Portland, my father waits at dusk for the bus, on the street
where he waits at dusk for the bus.  Consider, he says, these
silver dollar teeth.  Arm too long.  Slurred eye.
  Philip K. Dick
drops a plumb line into the hole just below my grandmother’s
ankle.  The hold that led to the end of all her digging.  No one
wants to hear about putrefaction
, Thomas tells me.  Deliver
unto us the liturgy of the body incorruptible.
  How little there
is to say about what we say.  Consider the stigma.  How
it deepens.  All we breathe.  Again.  Each time we don’t.