Beatrice

It is just as well, O sublime one, insulated as you are
from all who would eat you throughout the ages
as Rome simmers and troubadours juggle and burn
and cannibalize and ordain.

It is just as well the twin ignites as she contests
as in the mouth of the wolf mother, ever egg-smooth
alabaster as a moonlit bell you stick not
entirely to your guns,

but to plain truth hiding in plain sight.
It is just as well gargoyles
safeguard the monument your chastity is
but what might I know of chastity?

What might I know of that angel
through the window? He holds his own
upright in hand, his trumpet and blows.
It is just as well I eat my words

as you more obedient ones eat your hearts out,
just as well that God of yours unbuckles
and belches laughter, when the feast is done,
so taken by surprise, by storm,

so shaken, stirred–
And just as well it is to imagine
a poet’s stab at piety might be loaded with whatever
light it musters or throws

off, jettisoned mystery to embroider these consecrated
enclosures, the just desserts our divine bodies are
into which God sinks serrated teeth as we serenade

limited by tongue of meat and cartilaginous
throat adequate to charm a snake into believing
in the preposterous notion of heaven anywhere
but here and now.

And it is just as well that God
in whom your confidence nests
can neither be created nor destroyed,
who comes in all colors and a variety of flavors

that God, of many moods, whom it is within
my power, I must insist, to please,
no matter what you and God
and all the other experts say.

***

Native New Yorker Michele Madigan Somerville is the author of Black Irish (a collection of poems,
2009, Plain View Press) and WISEGAL (2001, Ten Pell Books). Her verse has appeared in numerous
journals–Hanging Loose, Downtown Brooklyn, 6ix, Pagan Place, The Brooklyn Review, Puerto del
Sol, Mudfish, The Nervous Breakdown, Eureka Street, Huffington Post
. Her most recent collection
of poems Glamourous Life recently received an Honorable Mention in Bahuan Books’s May Sarton
book Prize. She lives in Brooklyn.

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One Response to One Poem by Michele Madigan Somerville

  1. Deborah says:

    This poem suits my mental state as I slowly, slowly, slowly transition from RC to Episcople church

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