Beatification

When I say poor, I mean we drank powdered milk,
and our meat slid from the can in jellied squares.
I mean our TV always showed black, white, or grey
even though the screen promised technicolor.

Inside me, color flourished, each ray a wild band,
a length of the spectrum. Bent and separated,
different shades emerged as distinct equations,
and the charm of such symmetry sustained me

Advertisement

as I waited for a signthe milk made cola,
the screen ablaze with color, like holy cards
spread across my bed, each saint or martyr lost
in private rapture. I envied their vision,

that unbending sight stretched from soul to sky,
its radiance burnt through blood, through bone.
Their bodies glowed, infused with the intimacy
of particle and wave, the grace of light, a capacity

to be beyond the visible. Any ordinary thing
that happened around me seemed a miracle:
a scraped stigmata on knee and elbow, a touch
of evening rain, a silent benediction found

inside a newly spun spider web. At night,
my heartbeat raced, recalled each penitent thrill,
each indulgence acquired through grace or invention.
All that summer, I was desperate to escape

my flesh. I drank milky water, trusted its taste,
and its chalky deposit slid through me as I slept
naked on a wool blanket, my skin flushed, my eyes
uplifted, each focused on an elusive halo.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The war, the horror, the death and devastation have not disrupted my life in any meaningful way.
Matt Malone, S.J.February 18, 2020
James B. Donovan closely followed the spy trial of Francis Gary Powers, an American U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960, and was interviewed by America.
L. C. McHugh, S.J.February 18, 2020
Bartosz Bielenia in Boze Cialo (“Corpus Christi”) (IMDB)
“Corpus Christi” is not a critique of Catholicism, though; it may not even be a deliberately Catholic film, writes film critic John Anderson.
John AndersonFebruary 18, 2020
While some parts of your life are dark, they are not beyond God’s ability to bring light into them. There is always hope, there is always the promise of new life, and suffering is never the last word.
James Martin, S.J.February 18, 2020