Prayer as Three Camera Movements
Falconetti’s Joan of Arc Face
Cracked sun the teardrop that hangs on a lash and falls
bursts skids down her pitted skin, down her brokenness
as she, stone flower, sunflower, turns towards the inquisitor’s glare
and her sainthood is slowly hammered into chainmail breasts.
Her silent words are wrong whatever she says.
Extreme close-up: no let up to transformation. See the trembling
of cell, phrase & faith
Kinuyo Tanaka’s Nape in The Life of Oharu
She drops her head to staunch her eyes’
rain as her son who reigns walks past not knowing that
sack of kneeling woman is his mother who sinned &
pulled herself out of icy seas like a wounded seal, sealed
to secrecy. See the bent stalk of her nape, how soft, how ripe for the axe.
Crane shot ascends: suffering shrinks to dewdrop size. Silence of the enfolding
Jijai’s Back in Sant Tukaram
“Accompany me to heaven,” her husband says. “Who’ll feed
the kids & scrub the buffalo if I come with you? Go!”
she says rolling out chapattis, rough as dung-cakes, as holy bread.
The saint mounts god’s eagle & people chant. She flings
the sweat from her face on the earth. Her back sturdy as a tree, and bowed.
Slow backward track: the unseen movement that remains as time forgets
the colour of clay.
to collide with you:
your dizzying face:
planetary system mesmerised
by your gravity:
enlarge to absorb me
wheeling galaxy pulled by
your trillion trillion suns:
rip through me
shadow wave emitted in the first
moment of your birth:
hunger falling into your dark
Don’t free me /free me