To The Daughters of Sceva: R.L. Stollar

To The Daughters of Sceva: R.L. Stollar

Note from Ryan: I wrote this almost ten years ago. In 2004 I dedicated this poem to my friends, and I re-dedicate it to them now — and to all the other brave individuals who have shared their stories this week.

*****

Somewhere I went blind in the conversation —

somewhere between the epidermis

and the angels —

somewhere my stomach lost its way

amidst the tangles of a prayer and an

agony, an anger, and all I hate.

Here is a scar; there, the bruise.

This is the air we breathe.

But the images burn deeper than the words:

I took all the precious porcelain perfections,

pictured the angels skating across their smooth, body-washed shells,

saw the angels’ traces, the less-porcelain pained faces,

the ethereal ballet,

the euphoria of one salt water ocean masked by another,

the liquid rose smiling at the black heart processional

projected to all as a cherry blossom joy.

I know not how many angels can dance

atop a pin, nor less do I know

how many have danced upon you —

what red slippers they wore, or

if they performed Swan Lake and the shell was the swan,

or if you ask for encores,

or if the show sells out — and how often.

Yet I know this night hurt.

I know the heavens broke loose with a shout,

and archangels, legions with blessed wings,

trumpets of the spirit (the spirit is the sword),

they descended tonight upon my red tremors,

they did a pirouette and I have lost breath and

appetite, and I feel silence, clammy as death itself,

I have a need for Tylenol, and let me effuse:

Can I not cast out angels

nor summon the demons at my command?

Can I not have arms of such love

so as to encircle the universe?

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