Anne Champion

Saint Rita
Patron Saint of difficult marriages and impossible causes

Christ’s wounds never heal, and don’t be fooled:
neither will yours.

The man whose fingers clung to your neck
like vines—

The sons you withered for, dousing
their flames—

There’s only two types of animals: kept
and unkempt.

Somehow, a woman can be both
simultaneously.

Look at any woman in her third eye,
notice

its infection: it oozes from too much witness.
It spreads

its rash of faith and prayer and giving, giving
giving.

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Saint Brigid of Ireland
Patron Saint of infants, children whose parents are not married, children with abusive fathers, midwives, nuns, poets, printing presses, boatmen

When I’m done with you, you’ll want to worship me.
Put your ear to my breast—this birdcage is emptied

of lust’s whistle but not breath’s. Try to father me,
and my stomach will purge me fevered and pure. I’ll redirect

your genuflections to the lightning veined sky that made you.
Every day I dress like stone, and men tell me

my fingertips are tiny flames. I don’t know if they mean
their warmth or their scorching. It depends

on how near you get. I watched the eyes of men
that threatened me with marriage explode in their heads.

A wave of my hand over a pregnant stomach, and the seed
vanishes, the maidenhead grows back. I promise you

that if you abandon the poor, they’ll blister you,
and I’ll be there when it pops, watching moths

eat your satin with a kind of worship you’ve never known.
Sisters, take my cloak and swaddle this land

like a bastard infant. Watch it swell over valleys—
north, south, east, west—blanketing everything we deserve,

its sensual undulations, our sail, our wind whipped
flag, reclaiming what never should have been taken from us.

 


Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her work appears in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Epiphany Magazine, Salamander, New South, Redivider, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, a 2016 Best of the Net winner, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant recipient. She currently teaches writing and literature in Boston, MA. anne-champion.com