Tag Archives: saint

Perpetua in Carthage

I, who found the door of death
with light forever
on the other side.

I, Perpetua in Carthage.

I, martyr to dust.

I, traveler with slaves
to beasts.

I, rejecter of the babe
my father brought
aching for my breast,

asking me:

“Do you see the space
where you will not be?”

I who was silent.

He asked me:
“What can this space be called by?”

I, who answered:
“I cannot be called anything
other than what I am.”

I, who dreamt of the serpent
I, who dreamt of my slave sisters
I, who dreamt of fighting my way
through the dark door into the light.

I, who brought Felicity singing
to the wild heifer.

I, whose collarbone caught
the executioner’s knife.

I, who caught his hand
and drew the knife
through my neck.

I, who would not be denied.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Saint Margaret

That year was the year
I fought my way
out of a dragon.

Let me start:
I grew up banished to strangers
outside Antioch.

When I had to,
I chose purity
over expediency.

That explains the dungeon.

But not the tiny exquisite pain
in my fingertip
nipped by the green devil,
emerald-eyed, ashimmer.

That was my own story.

That year was the year
I let the devil swallow my body
into darkness.

That I gave my own breath
for the dragon’s flame.

That year was the year
that let me
sense light
through the belly.

A year
that faith
made sharp
my cross.

That year was the year
that I fought my way
out of a dragon.

That I sliced
through the
thick skin
severing scales
that fell away
like tossed coins
and crawled out
one toe at a time.

By the time I breathed
my own breath again,
and drew my soul
back in,
the dragon
was split
and wilted
at my feet,
temptless,
but for the
glitter
of white teeth.

– Copyright Kay Winter
written New Year’s Day, 2016

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Benezet at Avignon

I was a boy
who carried a stone
impossible for me
past their disbelieving eyes.

I followed the voices of angels
who had found me
sunblind in the eclipse.

I set the stone
on the bank of the Rhone
at Avignon.

The first stone of the bridge
I built for angels.

The angels,
in all their brilliant
soundings and shinings,
watched my sheep
in the soft light
on the green embankment.

The ill came
after the light
after the angels
after the stones,
and went away whole.

I slept within the arches
singing the silent songs of saints,
for hundreds of years.

Then all my many brothers came
to finish the bridge at Avignon.

And where there were boys
with other stones,
stones too large for them,
sunblind boys like me,
they built bridges.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Jebel Katerin

You should know
that I was real.

A good girl
waiting for the driver
to pull up to the awning,
my father’s money in the handbag
I held tight against my body.

In those days,
I looked at nothing but royal Alexandria
and the mirrors in long hallways
that told me how the city saw me,
soft-fingered and spoiled.

But then I started thinking.

“I have a lot on my mind,”
I told my parents.

“And I think that I do not, after all,
want to marry any of those foolish boys.”

I wanted to sacrifice myself
for an impossible love.

I dreamt that I married Jesus,
in the mystical skies above ancient Egypt.

Things really changed after that.

I let the music and poetry
shine my feet away
from the dust and stones.

My heart silenced
the nobility of liars,
including my own.

I read Greek philosophy
in the back seat of the limo,
and spoke just a little too freely
to the driver and the ambassador
on the way to the reception.

By the time I cornered the king,
to tell him everything
that he was doing wrong,
I knew what was coming.

I wasn’t aiming for martydom,
but I was the bride of Christ
in a kingdom of deception.

I had turned the mirrors
outward.

By the time it came,
I had soldiers, philosophers, and the queen
on my losing side.

I remember that
my feet were cold in prison.

I remember that the wheel burst apart
as my virgin body embraced it.

I remember the last stroke
of the blade.

I remember the angels carrying me
to an impassable place
in the heights of Sinai.

Where I spent myself
in wisdom, eternity, and mercy seeking.

Copyright Kay Winter

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River to the Sun

There is a river to the sun
that flows within the being
of the bodhisattva
like a golden path
that shimmers
along its traveled map
no matter
if it is hidden by the cloud
and ash of Wednesday.

Copyright Kay Winter

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