from Huizache #4

Secret Missionary for the Virgin Mary Is Off His Meds

Sheryl Luna

He writes of grenades, a universe exploding.

It’s inexhaustible, the sky. Something about badness
turns him on. Passion a candle with two wicks.

He says to me, “Keep burning.”
He is often falling out of love.

Handling language like a theologian, he misses
lilies, later insists fall’s leaves aren’t dying.

His knowledge flickers brown-bagged, like rows
of luminaria candles at night. Seasonal
affective, he deals with feminine questions.

He argues without hearing his own voice.

Within an occasional dream, he hears language
glide along the starched collars of men.

He will not let himself show sadness or joy.
He forgets the late afternoon lake,
golden, and the geese rattling off in droves.

No gangbanger, his past is a series of commitments,
seventy-four-hour holds, Haldol and Serequel.
Now refusing meds,

he’s found the weather quite bothersome.
Wringing his hands to a fallen image of God,
he has a hurried urgency to be uninvolved.

Like a man in solitary confinement
in the federal prison, tossing shit at the guards,

he refuses to smile. Know-it-all criticisms of others
make his days. He cannot let go atheism or disbelief.

Electroshock therapy has him grasping at a forgotten past.
He walks lanky towards a loneliness he won’t refuse.

And the aftermath of madness is calm.
He tries to forget the dread of monotonous expectation.

We, with the same steps, trod towards some understanding,
some philosophy. All of us, keepers of secrets.

Sheryl Luna is the author of Seven and Pity the Drowned Horses, which received the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize in 2004. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Georgia Review, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She also received the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award in 2008.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *