SAINT APOLLONIA by Anne Champion

          Patron Saint of dentistry and those suffering from dental problems
Keep your eyes open when you pray; scan
          every landscape for a sign of me—I’ll deliver
                    you God’s wisdom or His warnings.

The satchel of baby teeth under a pillow,
          the caress of steam from bone broth,
                    the bleeding gums of a battered woman,

the orchid yanked from its root.
          You’ll read the auspices easily: some mean savior,
                    some mean onslaught. But it takes practice

to recognize which mean both—a morning fog,
          a stormy spring. Fists shattered my teeth
                    and I saw every color God never revealed

before. In the distance, a bush I nursed to life
          turned to flames. I threw myself in it,
                    not because I desired death, but because I saw

yellow halos crowning spikes of branches—
          angels were singing. Watch me burn:
                    can’t you see it, don’t you hear it?
Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her work appears in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Epiphany Magazine, Salamander, New South, Redivider, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of Amer-ican Poets Prize recipient, a 2016 Best of the Net winner, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant recipient. She currently teaches writing and literature in Boston, MA.