Today's poem is by Jane Huffman

Self as Suscipe

In Catholic School, I drew Jesus on a dare.
Bloom ripe red witch poppies, and a sunset,
obviously, zippered with my own nail polish.
I spilled it like the song of my heart, landscape

like lunch. We delivered crates of Duraflame
logs to the poor, wore mime makeup to silent
auctions (this is in the song of my heart too),
and recited Latin like we were getting away

with something. Rome had all three of its eyes
on me. I was attracted to all of the right signs.
Even Baby Mercy, who came on the PA
and announced his stage of fetal development

for the first nine months of every school year
became a kind of mascot for the private self
sanctuary I was gathering like halves of eggshells.
I wouldn't stamp my hand on the No Abortion

Wall but my hand wanted to. Once, I lied
and said hello back. It was the kind ofretreat
where they rewarded us with a silver Jerusalem
Cross if we could sit under the skirt of silence

for an hour. I was always in it for the jewelry.
Words abandoned me. I didn't take the cold hand
That wanted to lead me into the confessional,
the box from which I could roll up my sleeve

and receive what I was owed. When girls came out,
absolved and weeping, we all offered sign language:
scout's honor, rock on, I love you, B as in Brittany,
rabbit shadow, puppet, the bird. I apologized.

I wanted to fall into the nocturne instead of the night
and I raised my voice like a kite to the storm.
I cradled the contraption of my hand and prayed.
I can call it a prayer. I could call it a kimono.

Grace is in the calling and so I called it. I saw it.
The Spring. The ceremony. It came from my belly.
Then, soul was suddenly wrapped around my neck;
its pranks, its bugs, its boar, its bowl, its jelly.

Copyright © 2016 Jane Huffman All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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