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I touch the very tips of my ring finger and thumb together
because I see Jesus doing it in a painting. A girl curtsies
in front of a carved wooden alter and her face is so calm
she looks like she is asleep. There is a perfect pink kiss on the glass
of the icon of John the Baptist and next to it is the skull of Saint Ionnais.
I touch it with the tip of my pointer finger and it is softer than I expect it to be.
People have left little gifts in front of the paintings. One is a stopped watch. I try to pray.
There is the body of a saint in a silver tomb and a woman whispers
with her lips touching it. Mary is called the unfading rose. She motions
to her son. In the ocean I step on a sea urchin and parts of it stay inside my
skin. Still sitting in the water I dig them out with a needle. One is longer
than I expect and when it slides out a ribbon of blood follows.
The girl who was curtsying in the church wears a white bathing suit
and laughs brightly. On the ferry I sleep on a bench with sunglasses on.
A girl I loved sends me a letter to say that she is no longer alive.
I write out Prometheus brings fire to the good humans in Ancient Greek.
I stop myself from crying three times. I touch the tips of my fingers together
and think quietly of the color blue. Someone complains. Someone else
smiles at their own disappointment. Sometimes Jesus holds the rose
in front of his mother's face. Sometimes she kisses him sweetly.
Once in awhile she can't see where he is, but we can.
Her arms are up and she touches her ring finger to her thumb
and Jesus is inside her, sleeping in a bright white circle.