on faith

It is lonely on cool tiles of my corruption
eye on domes of Rome, midday stretches
lethargic silence on ashes I burn
in the high sun on red rooftops basking in refuge

feathers from ashes, feathers short of a wing
to glide down like a raven to your chiral streets

there’s a congregation praying for my salvation
a choir singing the gospel, mirage on church steeples
I wring last drop of resolve in your mouth
and keep a river in my womb to wash my disillusionment

squatting to gut irony collected on your stairways
raw against my breastbone fishing-line stringed
putrescent promises familiar in flared nostrils
same as ancient prayers filtering through parched tourist lips

I will tell you again of pagan sins kneeling in confession
when you stop searching for the righteous woman
buried under four layers of leathered skin
you ask me if I want to pray with you for redemption
I ask you where do we go from here
where do we go not to converge in a dream

© Silva Merjanian

excerpt from Rumor and published here with the poet’s permission. Procedes from the sale of Rumor – both poets and publishers – go to the Syrian-Armenian Relief Fund. Three poems from Rumor have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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