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Wesley Rothman

Our Lady of Bone



Tensing ligaments crackle before the snap,

forced bust of a femur from its hip. This pulling-

apart follows lopping off a head, follows


baritone chants, follows a fire and spit.

Beads dangle their lifelessness, consecrated,

charged by the hot taste of red. Every blood-


blessed shrine worships differently. The Virgin’s

gently blue veil, her blue dome of sky,

golden stars open in a foyer, welcoming visitors


to spread their fingers and raise their palms.

A machete pincushion ensconced

by burnt down saint candles: their bodies


ablaze, light scorching out-of-chest hearts,

crowns, wings, and moon crescents. I praise

the light—its occasional absence, distracted


flicker—and will be razed by mighty swords,

reap the work of my fields, meet my blood

and the blood of martyrs, murderers, mercy-


mongers, the host of votives whispering smoke

and falling silent.


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