My Mother’s Litany for the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


by Tom Daley

My girl has anointed me with cloves and pine,
with grapefruit, with essence of wingtip smoked
by flying too soon to Purgatory.
My irises are wet marbles, broken into lotteries.
Wild rice sprinkles the backs of my hands.
Head jammed against the pillow, my cheekbones
rise high as Geronimo’s.
Meals scripted to soft mechanicals— one tooth,
three tooth—a bridge of sluggish dissolves.
Though my buttocks are loose and bruised,
when a cotton johnny slips my shoulder,
the skin there is young again, and clean as pewter.
White-nosed bats fixed to the roof of my mouth
itch themselves awake, and starve.


About the Author:

A superb performer of his poems and an experienced teacher of online and “irl” workshops, Tom Daley has published a new book, House You Cannot Reach at FutureCycle Press. He is a contributor to Relentless, a book of poems by Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos, which is freely downloadable here at Berfrois. Daley’s poems can be read in journals such as Harvard Review, Crazyhorse, Witness, Prairie Schooner, and Fence.