by Julian Canlas


She beheads
herself for independence

Patron saint of privileged beggars
she petrifies old edifices to fix
dying traditions

She bleaches the open fields
and the streets

She ceases to bleed

The body curses its own


When I was a kid, I watched
one of our chickens
escape from the coop through a dug
hole under the wire fence. I watched
as the chicken went from one side
to the other like paste.
It shook the dirt off its plumage,
then took off.
The following day, our neighbours
told my father that their dog chewed
the chicken up.


I pray to the Virgin Mary, who knows
of no scars or sins, never gets distracted
of infidelity, just the wounds
of her crucified son-creator.

His body falling from the sky
Like matchflame, palms clasped
into a prayer.
Her whitewashed
innocence goes off with little sound, a stare
in the void of to-be church bells. No bodies

will ever divide themselves
for this quietude.


This is her love buried, alone. Save your qualms,
pities, sorrows. His words aren’t worth any more
than prayer beads and thin promises. Her son,
of imitation and bestiary. This is her husband’s
reflection like moon on lake. This is the task
of loneliness, collecting used nails, shaping
clay, demarcating borderlines. This is a boy
of earth, of striking fatherhood. He dives headfirst
into the known world, an Icarus of deception. He finds home
for a chance of resurrecting her love. She hopes
he doesn’t bleed the image of heaven she used
to live. This is vomiting nights for pagan eyes,
bleeding for whitewashed dirt. This is creating
lovers out of no one’s image, kneeling
to porcelain figures. This is adultery with anonymous
bodies. This is his father’s scent, buried deep within.
This is what the man in him does.


Featured image © Diana Markosian

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