Fox Frazier-Foley


St. Valerie, Patroness of Unanswered Questions and Overcast Skies; Sometimes Conflated with St. Sylvia

 

On the third day, they began to worry. 
On the third day, they made

flyers, phone calls, 
found your body

in your car in the flood-
ruined field more than 

an hour from your home.
Air had recently healed

the town you drove to, absorbing
the Susquehanna uncredited

where earth lay sodden, exhausted, still
scarred as a burst lung: unable

& now able, drying, to give you
its wasted space to hide & die.

We don’t say suicide. We say
unattended death. We are careful

not to say the October wind
is burning: we say tenuis sub

artus flama demanat. The city
you died in had, for that month,

cleaved to the song you kept etched
in your skin: All we can do is keep

breathing. As schools began to
surface from the river’s rapacious

embrace. As animals swept away
in the current were kept from the blurred

gazes of those who’d lost them
or left them to drown. We don’t say God 

damned all of us. Or ask why. We say Dona nobis
pacem. Dona eis requiem, sempiternam
.

We don’t talk about your great
tap root
tattoo. We make Valerian

root tea to relax, ease our hearts
into your choice to die. We toughen

and tauten our lungs like leather
knowing: we’ll keep you, keep

kneeling, exhaling these litanies.

 


Thomas, St. Skeptic

I could say narwhal  nightjar

   rune     or horse     or deer. I do. 

I say  these things  & mean love
 

         like everyone: I have my

  ocean  my albatross  Fox   my pink

       and violet aurora. This is
 

                    not the point: whether pain

                       can be salved or if we

                      can be saved. I know God’s hand
 

opens for us. But sometimes

I can’t            Look,

how I ignored the begging
 

       dog, scraps of my meal

  indifferent on the plate.

       Sometimes I am a vial
 

          of can’t. I don’t believe

  in fearless. Show me your

       whitest scar: I want to talk
 

                         to someone who knows

                          what makes the beast

                         the beast is that when
 

            he opens his mouth, we lean in.