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Julia AlvarezSeptember 15, 2022

For M.H.

Before, Christ held each cell in you
like a strung rosary, and your arms
were prayers, your walk in the dark halls
supplication, your lips mumbled
name after name as if you were practicing
a foreign language you would speak in heaven.
But you were woman, ached for the wave
that lifted itself toward you in the wood.
At the crucifix crossroads, you stood still
and wondered if the world just down the road
were not for you. Months later
converted lover in a man’s arms,
you listen to his music, eat his food,
and think of Jesus with his wine and water
as of a child busy with his playthings.
After years of looking up to heaven
you’re half surprised you need not go that far,
only as high as his eyes to see light.
Old habits cover you with their dark skirts
and veils of an abstract bride,
and to undress takes time. Lie with him
as you are. This is the word made flesh,
the difficult communion, Bethlehem in your bed.
Let Magdalen out of Mary, men from Amen.
There are roses in the thorny crown, pick them!

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