Patron Saint of bodily ills, headaches, people in need of grace, lacemakers, people in religious orders, people ridiculed for their piety
I never met a man I could hold between my thighs
without ruining me. If one came too close,
he could hear desire running through my veins
like a flood. Union was on my mind
since childhood. I wanted either sex
or death, asking the warden to decapitate me
so my blood could nourish the earth,
reading tales of knights and brushing my curls;
my body would have flung wide open
with only the faintest nudging. Then I prayed,
and I knew the blessing of tears between my legs
was holy. I felt God’s palms levitate me toward
the heavens. He took so long to take me fully.
But men eyed my body parts
continuously, and what they couldn’t have
in life, they took in death, sawing off
my fingers, caressing charms of bones
in their pockets. How clueless men are:
ecstasy has no body, but their own.
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.