The holiness of who we are*

In the fashion district, I pass double
rows of mannequin legs on the sidewalk:

brightly sheathed in spandex, tattooed
with print, their torsos gone missing— When I

was a child I was taught the gospel of wild
creatures in the bush: trembling fawns that came

near the backyard fence in cold December, locusts
that swarmed dry skies above the shimmer of fire

trees at summer’s height. Termites that bubbled
in a cord of wood; and while we slept, who knows

what sat, seething, in gnarled arms of trees—
gaunt monsters with their fumes of rolled

tobacco, spurned women split in half,
darkening the world with the ribbed umbrellas

of their wings. Jung spoke of the unconscious
glimpsed through dreams as if it were the soul:

how its phantoms are sad, poor wraiths, combustible
desire that fled the scenes of severance: all

that might ground to bring the itinerant self
closest to what might pass for holy in this

forsaken world. When it scours the wilderness
and rattles the garret windows, climbs down the old

pipes at night, offer what sweetness is left in the blood.
Like you, it could not possibly want any more raw, nor salt.

* with thanks to R.A. Villanueva for his Editor’s Reflection, Tongue Journal

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