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Paige Lewis: “The Saints Don’t Think of You Fondly”

The Saints Don’t Think of You Fondly

The saints have been squatting in my home
again. They can’t agree on the exact reason
for leaving paradise, but most nod when

the patron saint of the falsely accused says
he was tired of all the light. It always comes
back to light. I ask what’s to be done about

June’s rent? Some pull hands out of robe
folds holding stale loaves and palm fronds,
but the patron saint of the art a child could

have made is the first in the growing line,
offering me divine inspiration to paint
two red squares colliding. The tabloid

saint advises me on how to use cucumber
slices to sip cellulite from my thighs, while
the patron saint of cosmonauts provides

Komarov’s last words with the preface,
I know you have been searching. These
saints are used to Cain and Abel—love

measured in sacrifice. These saints are
starting to ask what you have earned.
They’re taking up your room, filling my

bed with cupped hands. Under the sheets,
the saint of depressed ex-lovers tells me
which men still hold my sweaters to their

mouths, but she doesn’t offer up my sweaters.
Her brother, the saint of you are not like
the others
reads me a book of women who

have heard the same from you. It is getting
harder to sleep with all the knees sunk into my
back, with the smell of snuffed candles, but I

would still prefer to stay in tonight, because I’m
not the patron saint of rain. I’m not the patron
saint of moths hurtling toward well-lit windows.

Paige Lewis, whose poems are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere, is the 2016 recipient of The Florida Review Editors’ Award in Poetry, and is the author of the chapbook, Reasons to Wake You, forthcoming from Tupelo Press.