Into the voice of a little bird which is called a red-breast    
Flows a thread of silver called a river –    
Circuits the flimsy frame, lifts the bird    
Its breast a feathered blush on jealous grass; peaks    
Through a tiny beak, and forms a song;    
Something you know like the skin of your hands, but have never heard;    
Music at the rite of dawn and dusk you’ve never known;    
A palimpsest flashing its scars; a mirror the sun    
An angel unfurling a scroll which is suddenly gone.    
Life on a Limb     
Salt, tar, filthy rags, songs –    
a sense of momentum    
seasick Mrs. Kempe aloft    
spews prayers, like a flag    
pulsed in the cross-channel breeze    
Margery pours the chorus –    
a cluster of pilgrims    
sweat the verses    
Cold stone, sluts of dust    
splats of wax    
set me as a seal    
upon your unwise heart    
Fetal pummeling    
The mind stained    
a distressed art –    
touch of the moderns    
red wine    
cup of clay -    
she would     
be the first    
Bless me father    
for I have    
These ears are so thirsty    
for the again-and-again    
of you are holy    
The hand writes dry    
but life unspools its words    
and you will scribble.    
A Priest Got Lost in a Forest     
A priest got lost in a forest towards the middle of the afternoon. Winter was nigh, and the light was at a special slant of ambiguity. He turned about and about but couldn’t find the path, trodden as it was with pins and needles though no compass. He knew he’d already said Mass, so the problem wasn’t one of rush, but purely of direction (was he going out or coming home?). Overhead, memories rustled. Sidelines flapped. A shred of ego fliskedahead.The echo of a sigh. An invitation…was it his own? He loved the sound of a man’s voice, and walked that way. The outline of an Adam’s apple shaped the sky. He smiled. But squirrels shot pellets at his back. He gathered his rough woolen cloak about his body, and pressed on. He had to admit, he was getting peckish himself. If only there was a fruit tree, among the rough green sentinels; if only it bore apples or sweet pears. And soon enough he came upon a clearing, where a rustle of leaves revealed the fruits he craved.    
As he ate, the juice slid like a track of light across his face. It daubed his robes, unsublimated grace, a grateful trickle. He sang to himself: he was lost but had found hidden treasure. The forest had mazed him but sustained him; he was resting in the crook of its arm, in the palms of its unfolded prayers. He tarried and grew by a fruity osmosis. The clouds shed water, gentle. He’d never worked with animals, children or women. Well children he knew as he slid baptismal water’s light upon them. They hardly ever paid him. Animals were outside the church; and here was a gloss-brown bear, as instinctual as faith. He shared his fare with him.    
It’s true there was a flicker of white cloth. A light entextured.A word in a weave. Was it a woman? A princess, slipped from the kitchen door, following the unofficial vortex of her life, donning wedding garb in celebration. Laying on moss and soft fallen trunk, the priest smiled once more. A woman as a white cloth as a widow as a song. Such surrender to the unconventional rain.     
A Haircloth in Thine Heart    
The scribble of its itch against the ribs;    
Penitent striations, muscle    
Of continuous confession.    
I am, I am, I am    
A waltz across the body:    
A sin, a sin, a sin    
Veil her face, let it glimmer    
Under gauze, under the custody    
Of an un-vow; let    
The people gawp and jabber.    
Chew things over sacramentally.    
Under this fine white silk:    
Under the skin, her vital organs    
Hymning away.    
And the heart’s rough justice    
She as He required    
Pleading guilty    
Torn temple    
Instantly absolved and back on trial.    
          © Sarah Law 2011