Aluminum (Al) - St. Crispin Sleeps Alone at Night
Poem by Michaela Gabriel. Photo by
Jill Burhans.

heart pressed against the book of books sweating
in the leather binding he made with his own hands.

All night the pages whisper guidance in the name of God.
Sometimes he dreams of Judith, the cold steel blade,

a sudden rush of air, and wakes, fearing for his head.
This is what he knows of seduction. He doesn't understand

his wild curls make the girls sigh in the market,
beg him silently for just a word. And even if he did —

he is a preacher, not a poet. His business is handed-down
words, and new shoes. The soft skin of ladies' feet

is all he knows of women's limbs. Once a touch of red
on an Egyptian toenail tempted him, pushed

his other religion aside. Thirteen breathless seconds
by the workshop window. That night, Sosanna's elders

wore his face, millstones round their flabby necks.
A taste of bitter salt lingered, of a sea he'd never known.

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