St. Joan’s Last Night
I’ve been to you a flaming sword, a knight:
I bore your crest; I gave my body, breast
to sole, brought fire to my feet, undressed
myself for strangers’ hands to prove my right,
my faith in you; and standing uncontrite,
I testified of lips that came and pressed
my childhood, of rapturous requests,
your breath, as wind, through drying fields of wheat.
My fingernails now scrape these walls, this dark,
this idle flesh. Your lips are far, if lips
at all. The steel and stones, they mutter, weep.
I drift and dream of wayward dawn, an arc
of flexing light, of warmth that slips
between these bars; I wake—asleep, asleep.
This poem was published in the 2013 issue of The American River Review.
Artwork: Angel in Waiting Patricia Sokolowski