She never knew the Metro in July,
the cold composted air coursing down the cars,
the animal stench blent coarsely with perfume,
the beautiful eyes like light on light
in faces fixed with time’s tattoos.
She looked in luxury;
her skin shone Sicilian sun
still at a century’s length,
undulled at death by days’
decline as Perpetua’s had been,
though there again
she never knew the swollen breasts spilling
milk to mix blood in Coliseum sand,
the mad hooves, horns goring dust.
She never thought of Paul
delivering the Sun across the sea
but met him walking with the waves,
prevailed on him with purple prayer.
She never knew the earth’s long yawn,
the dark light whose shortening shades
defy the burdened body to believe,
but vanished as sacramental sons looked on
into the sum of what no one can see.