St. Rita’s
She’s the patron of impossible 
cases, struck by a thorn
from the crucifix.
A child doesn’t know
what her mother was wearing
but her nails were bright pink.
After the storm, a caption read:
A pirogue sits at St. Rita’s:
but instead of a wooden canoe,
there’s a statue of Mary inside
the front door in her blue dress
as if she could be a boat
when the windows broke,
and those who couldn’t get out
of bed by themselves, rose
to the ceiling in the flood,
though first a woman saw water
come in through the air
like Niagara Falls,
and when it’s up to her chin
a stranger gives her his arm,
takes her to a boat and pulls her
in, breaking her seventy-five-
year-old ribs, but she lives
unlike thirty-four others
on mattresses like boats
hitting the hard sky,
swallowing like diving,
the effect of nitrogen
narcosis. Cousteau called it
the rapture of the deep,
when divers throw off
their masks and sink to the floor.
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