New York – A naked man, carrying red carnations,
ran into St. Patrick’s Cathedral…
He killed one man and injured a police officer
before being shot to death…
--from a news story
or plunging from bridge to water,
a .22 ricocheting off the back of his skull
or his feet dangling above the oakwood floor.
Instead, he chose absolution
by way of another form of suicide.
then he entered the Manhattan shrine
where the air charged with incense.
The votive candles flickered yellowish-orange,
and the inscrutable, soft murmurings
of prayer rose above the front pews.
crushed down upon the usher’s back,
as he believed he was Christ
purging his temple from sinners
while chanting dark monologues
to exorcise demons.
more impossible: testimony, refuge, or God.
He was gunned down in the middle aisle
of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
among the flowers’ petals. A gush of blood
stained the floor at the altar.
“Sanctuary” was originally published in Ariel.