Cecilia, Stargazing
It gets easier, bearing it.
Not like I’ve got Atlas’ burden, but I was only bones
        for six or seven centuries and not malcontent.
The Romans had a knack for architecture
        and my catacomb offered certain comfort—dry,  
        undisturbed.
Pope Paschal had no business rooting around
        like a mole, mussing up his vestments,  
        scraping his elbow in eagerness.
I’d tell you how he cursed but it’s unseemly to gossip  
        about God’s chosen.  I’ve had years to learn this  
        and other codes I should have known before I died,  
        being canonized and all.

He christened me Cecilia and so I am.
Patron saint of music by chance or even purpose,
        patron saint of virgin brides by design.
I’m not sure what to do with all the prayers  
        piling to mountains.  I never asked for this
        and my negligence is a common symptom  
        of the unqualified.
Such an astral rise from bones to relic, it’s surprising
        my spirit didn’t get the bends.
And Paschal missed his calling as a publicist,  
        how quick he was with backstory and his gift  
        for invention: tortured to death for the rejection
        of my bridegroom, a pagan.
But who of us was not back then, seven hundred years
        before the Christian robbed my tomb marked
        for Artemis: Callisto.

Claimed now, Heavenbound, I keep
        busy unknotting the secrets of my flesh.
A maiden, yes,  
        but having lived my life for the huntress and her nymph,  
        I am no martyr.
Phantom blood pulls to the forest and, if given voice, I would growl.
Muscled limbs knew bow and axe better
        than any man’s caress and I miss the swift shadows
        of beasts more than kisses.

But it’s no use, wishing to be cast out from the canon.
The situation has its perks, an unblocked view  
        of the constellations and I stare.
Enviable, their dip below the horizon, a rest before
        their rise and chase across the sky—unfettered movement.
And Paschal, in his bumbling, stumbled  
        on a sliver of accurate divine.
Callisto, Ursa Major, Great She-Bear
        condemned among the stars
        can never leave the sky.
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