The saint takes the monster to church & the monster catches a cold
Here is a body.
There are muscles for cruelty, muscles for kindness;
there is poison and there are sweet shrill enzymes;
there is love and dirt. We are going inside.
The saint doesn’t know much about bodies, how they inscribe their excrescences on the earth.
This is just a room with living things in it.
There is the flank by flank of us, the stink of us,
the zoo-ness, the how-do-ye-do-ness.
Our contagion of voices tangles near the ceiling in the notes of a hymn.
There is the palm on palm –
oh lord the saint says may we never wash our hands of our neighbour –
and there is the mouth on mouth, we mouth the cup one after another, saint and monster have kissed one another,
sopping the circle of drought on our tongues.
Saint and monster cluster at the watering-hole and a voice says
EAT EVERYTHING, DRINK EVERYTHING, TOUCH EVERYTHING, LOVE EVERYTHING.
Mary Anne Clark is reading for a DPhil in English at Merton College, Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize in 2016. Her poems have appeared in The Mays, Oxford Poetry, IRIS III, and several Emma Press anthologies. In 2018 she was runner-up in the Jon Stallworthy Prize and second place in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition.