St. Nicholas of Tolentino Loses His Arms to His Cause

May 1, 2013
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By Linda Dove

I am no longer rowing this boat. Oarless, I cheat death. I skim gloom. My arms go on
working without me, just some old wood people expect to start fires. Can you lose the hope
of your hands? Once, they broke bread, made the sign of the cross. In the Tolentine square,
I raised my arms and swept the stars. (The stars are farther than they look. Try walking towards
one.) Fed the doves, fed the sick. Hooked behind my back as I pelt-knicked. Over bowls,
my palms trapped the sparrows I made in my mouth. Desires. Obedience. Gods as small
as a speck. I hid choices in skin. then the adze fell between body and fifth sense.
What happens if you lose touch? I missed the cross-piece. Torn to relics, it talks. I hear
my mother in the ear of my arms. I hear voices at bone-bottom. Alarm, alarm. My arms
mallet the world. They tip time. They keen to the air like wings that are clipped.


Copyright © Linda Dove

Linda Dove ImageLinda Dove holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and most recently taught at Yavapai College in Arizona where she directed the creative writing program. She is the author of In Defense of Objects (Bear Star Press, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Award, 2009) and O Dear Deer (Squall Publishing, winner of the Eudaimonia Poetry Review Chapbook Prize, 2011). Dove’s poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and were a finalist for the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America. She lives in Pasadena with her daughter and two Jack Russell terriers. You can order her books on Amazon or purchase them at Webster’s Fine Stationers in Altadena.




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