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————–—Lord, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hid from Thee.

————————————————-——Christina of Markyate


Carved from the dove in my mother’s sleeve
——-—I rode the first breath of November, reins wrapped thrice
around my pickled thumbs. How many months

——-—did I dream in red and light, how
many hours did my ear sojourn to the rhythm of her yellow tongue?

As a girl, like a girl, I held silk synonymous
with dirt, whispered plum-somethings to God in the armpit of my pillow—
what I tell him cannot be caught by man:

——-—grace is a cupboard discovered
backward, the Lord’s love softer than a dish of forgotten butter.

With one nail I lured the wood from the door, left
——-—the shape of the cross in my stead. With another nail, I hung
behind a tapestry while a suitor sought by lust to paint me

dead. Against my shift, that stitched menagerie, most menacing
——-—the martyr red of blunt-faced poppies, the glint of the wood anemone.

——-—In the heart of the foliage I know there roosts a snake-necked fowl—
its tail a green heaven hosting a hundred watchful eyes,
——-—as blue as night beading the rosary between my thighs.



Kale Hensley is a West Virginian by birth and a poet by trade. When not writing, they sideline as a coffee-shop medievalist. You can find more of their work in publications like Lucent Dreaming, Sweet Lit, and Levee Magazine.



Photo by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

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