the stigmata has become a star

i saw it on tv just tonight

it says there are wounds that never heal

cameras pop, stigmata nods, and

                         is gone

          you say the stigmata is a fake

i say dear and want to argue but

outside, in the dark, something calls to me

          the virgin mother, the moon, a chipmunk

and i wonder if the stigmata has come

or if a bleeding ulcer might count

as walking in jesus' footsteps

later, when i try to fall asleep

alone on the couch, i will read

cover enquirer: stigmata signs

autographs in blood, snapshots a wound

they made a movie—the direction

cut to a painting of jesus Christ

cue scary music, close up of hands

he is always forlorn in these things

          head heavy with thorns

the stigmata needs a hug

i found mine in a box at the gas station


i brought it home, laid down newspaper

smacked its nose when it bled on the floor

          fed it table scraps, patted its head

until my wife made me get rid of it.

i had no choice, what could i do then

but put it in a sack, drive it out

to the country and let it go

as it ran off it made connections

between earth and everyday things

looking over its shoulder at me

tail between its legs, i think it cried

          one red tear down a cherubic cheek

now the stigmata has come farther

than me, seasame street and all those

ragged, holy, reganomic boys

it pulled out of this town and made it

now shout it to the rooftops, sister

now say it with me again, my wife

now let it bring you back, my brother

it is a glorious thing to bleed

it is a glorious thing to clean

though it is not for everyone

there's a drop of rain on my window

there're headlights backing down the drive

there's morse code in everything

symbols that we take for granted

but the drum of this rain is easy

i see it on the face of the old

woman behind the bar, and on the

kneecap of a boy, pressed like a rose

turned to dust between the pages of

our photo album

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