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Vigil - Emily Benson

The wine on my lips is



Heavy with berries, rich in

Languid summer heat

Lips parted on a red so deep

Ochre, mercury, cinnabar

Dried blood

Tip of the tongue

Pulling in the errant drops

Not like the altar cup

That long spring night, the

Scent of lilies and hyacinth

Smoke from the censer

So strong I felt dizzy

On my knees in the dark

My heart aching with need for

Something bigger than its own desires

The calm of another pain

Like dragging the point of the pin

Over my arm again and again

In the basement bathroom

With mushrooms in the grout

But bigger, older

The crown of thorns

What did I know at sixteen?

But that the dark murmurs

Close to my skin

Through the perfumed night

Under the beams of the upturned ark

Left me feeling holy


Emily Benson writes poems of humanity, longing, and nature. She lives in Western New York with her husband and two sons. Ms. Benson has previously been published by The Esthetic Apostle, Unstamatic, Airlie Press, and in Hey, I’m Alive Magazine. Her poem “Body” will appear in High Shelf Press, Issue XXVI in January 2021.



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