Clancy Tripp | Poetry

around my bread-breaking wrist: a scapular
my future-ex got off her great-greats,
or maybe her great-great-greats, and gave
to me, the well-meaning heathen.
its delicate gold thread is rumpelstiltskin
in reverse: decades-spun and sunned
back into yellow wheat.

us two? indulgence bound.
every seasoned kidnappee knows
to count signs: the left turns, the red lights,
the mornings she strokes my ringfinger
underneath the table and the nights
she won’t. if only I could keep her
popular piety, knee-down
devotionals, crown.

an increase in cabin pressure but we
already know combustion, drought-
stressed silos, how fast the fire
consumes. our biographers will call it
spontaneous and I’m pure

in that left-behind land, fork-tongued boys
slithered between us, which of you is it?
nightstand judas? bedtime delilah?
of course, it was neither of us,
and it was both. but sometimes, lights off,
quiet ferment, she asks,
can grain be poisoned and
does it eat you inside out and
the end of us that these men mean,
is it her?

at the basilica, I watched her flickering hands
slow-feed one wick to another, make wax kiss,
blaze anew. I saw her molars grind on good prayers,
swallow them. I witnessed her wheat knees
rote-bend toward hearty blessings.
but I never once saw her
ask for forgiveness.
I am pew-slumped. altar-emptied. I forgot
she used to have a god that wasn’t me,
and might again sometime.

tonight, when our plane goes wheels-down,
when it pink pearl eraser-streaks the tarmac,
she will stand
and clap for the pilot and
I will say I never knew
anybody so faithless.