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INTERCESSION TO SAINT BRIGID/ Anthony Butts Young and black, a woman rocks back and forth on the Greyhound to Dallas, a fulcrum of night in her white T-shirt. A white woman farther back dressed in black scratches the top of her head with one fingernail like a record skipping over some song she'd love to remember, some ode she seems to never give up on. White crosses grow larger in their trinities the farther we descend toward the equator, Southern culture like those highpowered lights turned at dizzying angles upward, faith illuminated in an attempt at the largest manuscripts ever read. Saint Brigid is back on Lake Michigan, The Book of Kells in my lap, the lamp light above my head faintly culling stronger strands from weaker ones as no one pays attention to me or my red jersey in the obscurity of that near-coffin rolling, its tubular presence like the shape of a life— that form the only person at a party who's interesting. I will not let go of that raft. Islands of light. Eyes of night. Fist-sized towns pass incredulously by. Sometimes a person pointing aimlessly on the corner is like a pattern interwoven in daylight, a labyrinth of sound and sight, runes of our fate known to someone save ourselves: the Lady of the Lake, her hair as dark as the two women on board. One has scratched a small The Missouri Review · 129 hole in her head, blood collecting in the tiny "u" in her psyche. The other sits with her small girl mewling to a music only her mother could know. And I am all fretwork, or so I believe, in this moment where the next buses will connect with the terra-cotta mountains of Utah and the windswept plains of Nebraskaupon the blackout of intercessions as darkness closes ranks at 1:16 A.M., about an hour before Dallas where we'll wake into the only light we'll witness on this night. 130 · The Missouri Review Anthony Butts MIST AND FOG/Anthony Butts Saucers and their cousins sit respectfully in silence, the room austere in black-and-white distressed checks lining the Formica like footprints to nowhere, two rooms separated by more than just dusky effervescence, Saint Brigid come ashore in the form of mist and fog. Outside, there is no word for demure or dapper as gray inhabits both places of the mind—the last rays persevering beneath sky's observation, the Lady of the Lake seeing a whistle's billowing with her ears. We rely upon odd senses when in need, the couple muttering each one to themselves as if those cluttered rooms were populated by thoughts, as if throw pillows were like faces passing in the reflection of department store windows—each shopping for their own anniversary gift, which no one thought to give. Squirrels gather the world into their own constituency of promise and fortitude as if no other were available, contemplative winter a sustaining memory of more than luck and loss. Vibration of missing sound after rhythmic chanting is like the course of human history turned around: a congregation in the loss of languages spoken and unspoken after group meditation, after the hum of Saint Brigid has inspired even the leaves to sing along. Sound can only hurt you if you let it, the couple somnambulistic in the kitchen organizing saucers according to their own phenomenology, the eerie mist above the dishes like miniature gymnasts The Missouri Review · 131 twisting in the rhythm of sentences turning: words bending thoughts like light refractedthe couple making love with their gestures, even if mist is not yet in their eyes. 132 · The Missouri Review Anthony Butts SONG OF EARTH AND SKY/Anthony Butts The sun rises in its happenstance of the day, garbage trucks like predawn crickets, the lack of streetwalkers as its own object of desire, life more like art than the reality we reconstruct through daily ritual imitated. Routine is candy for the psyche, blocks of caramel on a park bench like children sitting calmly, a jar of chocolates individually wrapped on His table at home in the only version of heaven I...


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pp. 129-134
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