To the Patron Saint of the Impossible

(Santa Rita da Cascia,
Ang Banal ng Hindi Mangyayari

A little cloud of white bees
calmly entered and exited
your open mouth as you lay
in your bassinet, moving
your parents and onlookers
to conclude that surely,
your life ahead would be marked
by purpose and industry— Child
bride, at twelve you pushed your first-
born out into the world, itself no small
miracle in an age of sepsis, superstition,
dogma, while your husband must have been
out carousing, fueling those long-running
fires of vendetta streaking toward his murder.
So there you are in the tapestry and
stained glass window, or walking
with a skull cradled in your hand,
your vestments of ornate brocade
shaken out of storage for church
processions down dusty streets—
Oh see how we gawk at your porcelain mask
with its bright stigmata lasered on your brow,
that red third eye proclaiming the gospel
of an otherworld. Oh how the tired shopkeepers
arrange their merchandise of salted fish,
and housewives in their shabby dusters
finger the halo of pink plastic rollers
hidden in their hair: how we startle
then take heart at your approach, feel
kindred, incorruptible, beatified
when impossible hope visits
our wretched lives.


In response to Via Negativa: Carnival.

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