Scandal (a poem)

You can’t do that, my mother said;
It’s giving scandal!
But scandal, great shapechanger,
As anointing oil went by the ravelled thread,
All doggedly intent
On Garabandal (Knock is on ahead),
Fatima, Medjugore; the scent of a manger
On a carpenter’s sandal.

Scandal fell to earth in every parish
And unlikely form: a votive candle, all encased,
To be lit in the event of not returning chaste,
Or having no gods to obey,
Or finding the cure worse than the relapse:
The greyhounds in the donkey’s hay
And hares enraptured in their traps.

I lit the wick with caution
And a match made, horridly, in hell,
But found to my orgasmic fright
This stuff was votive dynamite:
Scandal’s case or casket sliced the light
To lay me cold and virid.

So tomorrow, between two and three is it?
My votaress will come to visit
In that red shawl I love, with her Wicca basket
Of bandages and don’t-forget-me knots.


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