On the Road to Emmaus

I once met a woman who—
in a frenzy of wild praise
and to fight the devil—ate glass.
Not shot glasses, juice glasses,
or tumblers; not pub pints
or goblets, but 100 watt
incandescent bulbs—filament
and all. Even energy saving
fluorescent tubes slid slowly down
her throat like flaming swords. She glued
mirror shards on her teeth to keep
them clean and to keep the devil
off his guard. She threaded rusty
piano wire from cheek to cheek
to dazzle him with her delicate scars.
Once, in a holy stupor, she drove
nails through her hands, perfectly piercing
the flexor digitorum.
When she danced with the devil
(and beat him), she whirled.
Then her tongue bubbled diamonds,
and she spilled over with invisible light.

 

Rose Marie Berger is assistant editor (and poetry editor) of Sojourners.

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