Soraya Maciel

A Clergyman On Being Alone

I am never more beside myself
than the times you sit down beside me
and I could take your hand.

Your humming brushes my skin
with strokes from still-life portraits,
the map of far houses lit by a crowd;
your body in her shroud of truth.

I could only hold your breath
in my mouth for so-long.

These are too near to be here;
these cups left on my table, still spilling;
these empty frames where I might've
got round to putting a face
had you stayed a while.

My shoulders sink inside my chest,
and a tail disappears
between our legs.

But what is a man without his pride,
a glorified insolence, heavy-footedness,
the careless in and out of bedrooms,
and cut-throat bookishness.

If all things are made of glass
you are fresh and cut for new wine.
My skin would burst at the taste.

I am a stained sort of faithlessness,
glued up inside a window with my brothers;
the forearm of a saint.

Light runs his violate fingers through,
diluting my colour,distorting and casting
my shadow upon the floor.

Sunday mornings you kneel down upon my back,
crying for a saviour, while I am seated,
hands-folded, in a pew, prideless; a man.


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