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Her Penitent’s Hair


She lay there on the Spanish Steps like the moon sleeps on a hill,

shards of love inside her like a knife.

Her voice was like the falling of a dandelion seed.

Her smile was the taking of a life.


The guts of an old gladiator got inside of me.

And the armor of wine drew my blade.

Her breath was the envy of that basil bush at dawn.

We fought in the coliseum’s shade.


And she wanted me to go down to Sicily

where absolution begins.

The way that she’d wear her penitent’s hair –             

She tattooed me under her skin.


She stole indulgence from a purgatory boy,

and horded forgiveness in her dress.

Her body was a sacrament he never would receive,

nor supplicate or confess.


We made it to Rosarno when my barricade cried out

my reservoir was going to win.

Nedda on a ferry boat and my costume off of me –

the western sun burning her again


Now I’m an old man with an old hand,

crossing my fingers the way she preyed that day.


I cure in Lake Ontario, transfused of her disease.

And the Humber River’s bleeding out.

Underneath the Kipling bridge my sacred water pools

at my unholy dam of the copper spout.

© Audsongs 2019

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