O Mary, fragile mother, hear me, hear me now although I do not know your words. The black rosary with its silver Christ lies unblessed in my hand for I am the unbeliever. Each bead is round and hard between my fingers, a small black angel. O Mary, permit me this grace, this crossing over, although I am ugly, submerged in my own past and my own madness. Although there are chairs I lie on the floor. Only my hands are alive, touching beads. Word for word, I stumble. A beginner, I feel your mouth touch mine.
I count beads as waves, hammering in upon me. I am ill at their numbers, sick, sick in the summer heat and the window above me is my only listener, my awkward being. She is a large taker, a soother. The giver of breath she murmurs, exhaling her wide lung like an enormous fish.
Closer and closer comes the hour of my death as I rearrange my face, grow back, grow undeveloped and straight-haired. All this is death. In the mind there is a thin alley called death and I move through it as through water. My body is useless. It lies, curled like a dog on the carpet. It has given up. There are no words here except the half-learned, the Hail Mary and the full of grace. Now I have entered the year without words. I note the queer entrance and the exact voltage. Without words they exist. Without words on my touch bread and be handed bread and make no sound.
O Mary, tender physician, come with powders and herbs for I am in the center. It is very small and the air is gray as in a steam house. I am handed wine as a child is handed milk. It is presented in a delicate glass with a round bowl and a thin lip. The wine itself is pitch-colored, musty and secret. The glass rises in its own toward my mouth and I notice this and understand this only because it has happened.
I have this fear of coughing but I do not speak, a fear of rain, a fear of the horseman who comes riding into my mouth. The glass tilts in on its own and I amon fire. I see two thin streaks burn down my chin. I see myself as one would see another. I have been cut int two.
O Mary, open your eyelids. I am in the domain of silence, the kingdom of the crazy and the sleeper. There is blood here. and I haven't eaten it. O mother of the womb, did I come for blood alone? O little mother, I am in my own mind. I am locked in the wrong house.