Patron Saint of pregnant women, exiles, and the falsely accused
I tell you there are places darker
than mine, blacker than the gut
of a demon. I was swallowed
whole by a dragon, but, still, I heard
life go on around me like a chorus
of amens, voices soldered to other voices.
There are hotter, razor barbed jaws for a girl
to be consumed by, monstrous bodies
you can’t carve yourself out of with a crucifix
or a knife. Mine was a crown forged
solely by faith. God kissed my bruises,
and the blooms of suffering reversed,
never to reappear. Don’t mistake
me as a fairy tale for the other girls.
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.