Dog Roses

(Rosa canina assisiensis)

A jute robe is itchy. And so one day, the saint
feels the urge to abandon monastic life. If only
he were a tree, a strip of lettered wood nailed
to a crossroads sign; something else, anything
other than this silence among the doves, duties
beautifully illustrated by the missalette. If only
he were a sailor bound for a year’s ship journey
to the far ends of the earth, or even a scarecrow
flapping its tin-can arms in the middle of a field.
At the height of great feeling or pain, the body
has been known to forget itself. Do his eyes roll back
into his head, does he break into a sweat and twitch
like a lit swath of firecrackers? What are the cries
that escape his mouth? In the humid night, open
your windows after sex to find the air saturated
with the rumor of flowers: the ones with thorns
are said to have the sweetest scent. It’s not hard
to imagine what it’s like to be seized by fragrance,
to give oneself to the darkness; to leap
into the bramble bushes fully clothed.


In response to Via Negativa: In Partibus Infidelium.

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