The Gate
I was redeemed for a moment
like the martyr with his cocked head,

his shoulder dislocating along
the wood. Not the first time I heard angels

filling the humid places,
the Angel of Relief holding my face

in the garden to comfort me who-was-called,
a child on the cusp of all

that thereafter. Along the marshland,
my feet flickering along the path,

along the salt reek, the putrid fish
half-gorged, the white wading birds rising

up into abstraction before
the monastery, that house of light, my house

of tainted stained light and stolen
relics—a shard of saint bone, I am told—

I found behind ivy the weeping statue,
and found myself again going back

into the confessional a fourth
time that month, into that dark mouth

at the end of childhood,
closing the gate of childhood,

When did you touch yourself?—

his coarsely-shaved chin moving
behind the filigree of that screen—

and how?
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