When I die, sick peasant women
will carry bits of my fingernails and teeth
in glass vials hanging around their throats while
they cross back and forth over blue-black mountains
to seek wisdom on the best way to
not only feel the most sorry for yourself,
but to make everyone else feel sorry for you.
They’ll build shrines in their kitchens and hair salons
where they’ll pray to me five times a day.
They’ll fill up their reliquaries with
3am whiskey sodden voice mails,
freezer burnt low-calorie ice cream, and magazines
curled brown from being dropped in the bathtub.
They’ll pray to me for the strength to pile on the
burdens enitirely self made.
The Vatican will grant me a feast day of
gas station sushi and stale club crackers.
They still won’t cancel school.
My followers won’t be rich enough to fund revolutions.
My teachings aren’t so radical that I’ll be burned in a furnace,
but the old women who yell at me for mixing my recyclables
will still spit at my feet as I float by.
Those who suffered are celebrated,
surely those who suffer on earth won’t have to suffer there after.

 

Misery is the currency of the blessed,
my mother always said.
The greatest martyr of them all,
she watched her daddy tip back the bottle in the arms of his Laz-E-Boy while
her mama piled her hair on high in preparation for Sunday morning
and saw it as anointment.
When my mother watched as a tow truck dredge up the
shell of my younger sister’s car from the neighbor’s pond,
she looked at the shit she’d been served and converted it into
solid gold bars for Saint Peter to weigh
against her immortal soul.

 

O, those who’ve jumped into a pot of
lukewarm water and kicked on the propane:
When God has chosen you to suffer,
the highest calling of them all.