Archive for November 1st, 2021

Monday, 1 November 2021

All Saints Day by Amy Gerstler

The holiday arrives
quietly like phrases
of faint praise
in Braille. Famous
saints bow at the waist,
then step back, making
room for scores
of unknown saints,
to whom this day
also belongs. Not
a glamorous bunch,
these uncanonized,
unsung ones, shading
their eyes shyly
in the backs of the minds
of the few who knew them.
Hung-over, mute, confused,
hunched, clumsy, blue,
pinched, rigid or fidgety,
unable to look the radioactive,
well-dressed major saints
in the eye, they wonder
terrified: What (the fuck)
Am I Doing Here? Still
drenched, the tobacco
spitting fisherman who dove
after a dog swept downriver
looks in vain for a towel,
too timid to ask. (His dog
now sports a halo, too.)
Robed in volcanic ash,
a brave Pompeii matron
is mistaken by St. Catherine
for a sooty statue. An old
coot who serenaded
his dying wife with her
favorite ukulele tunes
is still trying to find her,
as his map of the afterlife
proved unreliable. What can
we offer these reticent saints
who lacked press agents?
Flowers? Lit candles? Floating
lanterns? The nerdy
fat whistle-blower from
the chemical plant
whose plaid slacks
made his coworkers
laugh behind his back
nervously jokes sotto
voce that he’d give
his soul for a Coke,
but no one can hear him.

From: http://jacketmagazine.com/32/holiday-album.shtml#gerstler

Date: 2007

By: Amy Gerstler (1956- )