Poetry November 2004

Sinners Welcome

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I opened up my shirt to show this man
the flaming heart he lit in me, and I was scooped up
like a lamb and carried to the dim warm.
I who should have been kneeling
was knelt to by one whose face
should be emblazoned on every coin and diadem:

no bare-chested boy, but Ulysses,
with arms thick from the hard-hauled ropes.
He'd sailed past the clay gods
and the singing girls who might have made of him

a swine. That the world could arrive at me
with him in it, after so much longing—
impossible. He enters me and joy
sprouts from us as from a split seed.

Mary Karr is the author of the memoirs The Liar's Club (1995) and Cherry (2000). Her most recent book of poems is Viper Rum (2001).
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