Ouido

From the drainboard, I collect discarded husks for the goddess of garlic peelings.

The saint of innumerable road construction obstacles is my patron for the day.

I do not think the child wished to be destined for sainthood. She walked days and miles with her sister on her back, despite the pebble in her shoe and the crick in her neck. They just wanted to go home.

So who is the saint of frustration, who adorns my heart with scabs peeled open again and again?

Under their rough bark, I see they have grown fruitful, almost competing with the stars. I can only do so much, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t care.

My neighbor offers me the saints of antidepressants and tranquilizers. They have names filled with Ls and Os. They drop into amber-colored vials like tiny porcelain buttons.

The interior votive light of the open-all-night shrine clicks and hums. It dispenses cold water and crushed or cubed ice.

I line up linoleum-cut rubber stamps on the windowsill: nautilus, sundial, chameleon. Reliquaries of my lost selves.

The saints of living by learning as you go would tell you there is no way to teach any of what you want to learn. They carry little musical instruments. They have always played by ear.

 

In response to failure, falling down, & the living hagiography.

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