Book of Sinners – Sofija Popovska

I. Prayer of St. Tantalus

Revelation 3:16: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

Out of St. Sophia's three daughters I always leaned to the one with the arrows,

The speared dove whose blood trickles among rocks like a searching hand.

Ten swords mark the spot where the heart may have been

And two tumbled cups caress a coalescence hoped for not very long ago,

Splayed veins of spillage form coagulating crimson arabesques.

And so, the barelaying of my soul,

In layman's terms, in terminal spasms,

For the abatement of interminable solipsism:

What I want: Not This:

The nacreous naught concealed by the doe-eye of a doleful Naiad,

The lustful limp of Hephaestus' antediluvian ankle,

The sagging flourish of baroque elocution,

Whispered bitter nothings behind a morning glory pavilion.

I don't want nothing —

Not a double negation, rather the refusal

Of doubled words,

The approaching and retreating of warmth,

One laid over the other in confusing tenderness,

In the vile promise of absence. Coming and going,

I would rather you were

Entirely absent, aborted, unborn.

Leave me with the sun, with the blood rushing up from behind lilac hills

Like the peony that blooms in a syringe.

II. At the Grave (Mary Magdalene)

Peering into                   The stone,

I didn't find you             Among the ghosts

That looked on,             Glazed over,

Confused.                      They rearranged your sheets,

Now empty,                    To look like mountains

Farther away,                 And split by a train whistle.

They asked me why     I stood halved

At the entrance,              Crying.

The sheets                      That are fragments    

Of the debt that you owed      Not to me,

Fold over the horizon,      And betray my breathing,

As the river betrays          My eye,     

Among the kindness         Of ghosts

Confused,                             Asking softly

How come                          The sunrise pierces me      

And blood                          Trickles into the stone

Like a searching hand.

My eye                 Betrays my mind,

As I turn               To the figure behind me

I hope               For a single tear from the gray stranger. 

Gray before        My treacherous eye

Dawns on his face.     And he says:


III. Abandon (Judas Iscariot)

The hail comes         Like stone doves

Like silver coins       On a stone floor

Rises from the ground          Kissing sensitized ankles

A new name dawns    A new flesh

To fill an old name     A trajectory

Averting my eyes       It won't be long until

I walk towards you

Dawn comes   Like a searching hand

Sifting through my names   To find the one that isn't a hiss

I am to become   A curved dagger

On other lips

Crescents fill your eyes    Searching dewily

For doubt            In my face

For a reason to plead     The judicial voice

To assign another destiny

You are appalled at my surrender

It won't be long now.     Dawning

Are flames over lilac hills

I was dealt      The Hanged Man

I fill your house with silver

You are appalled at my resolve

Tears come        Kissing unsuspecting knuckles

"You've never lost someone dear to you?"

I am lost to every eye and every heart

And every hand crumbles away from me

And the sky answers me

With the silence of a bloodshot eye

My blood trickles over rocks and fields     Like a searching hand 

My name is                      Friend.  Do what you must

My name is                      A sentence

I will wait for you     My faith is amorous abandon

         Abandoned              Your blood trickles over your eyes

         Searching                For the memory of tears

         And for the memory of a kiss.      On lips

         Who haven't forsaken my name

I fill your house with silver

And walk away

I will be there          Before you