All Saints Day — Jamie Agnello

Do you remember coming home to our backyard on fire?
Maybe we should move to the side of town God lives on.

This harp inside of me won’t stop wailing.
It is something we do not understand.

I have come to terms with fire and the peaches beneath that blouse.
Love is not a mouth.

These days, anything ignites. This is how to learn patience.
Seeing you rise up was an unknown pleasure.

Church of the Oak, I cannot catch my breath.
The backs of my knees are as red as the old barn.
We bit our lips ‘till they split open to reveal the sky.

Mother Mary, our one and only, holds a thick red steak over her eye.
The world changed so quickly when we were busy making angels.

Here is a lung full of heavy feathers.
Your body is a last sacrament, a heat that always remains.

There’s an astronaut floating in an inner tube of night.
There’s a music to martyrdom, the throbbing center of all things holy.

I could have sworn I heard something crying.

The trunk of your car was full of violets.
I told myself that bad things happen to good people.
I realize that you, God, are in them.

“To begin unpacking my Catholic upbringing, I penned 365 saint poems for a years’ worth of feast days. I’ve always been fascinated by them. What does it mean to have that kind of conviction? That kind of belief? I’ve never believed in anything in the ways that they have. I think the iconography will haunt me forever; eyes on a golden plate, swords plunged into ribs, stones thrown at flesh. Does any of this translate into our modern world? What does it mean to be a martyr, a soldier of God, someone free of guilt?”

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You can find more of Jamie on her instagram @yaymieyamz or on her website jamieagnello.com!

“Jamie Agnello, “who is a human, not a puppet…(New York Times)”, is a poet, actor, and puppeteer based in Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in Yes, Poetry, Re/Visionist, How Restaurants Work (pt. 2), and Dinner Bell. She has also penned 365 Saint poems for a year’s worth of feast days and completed a collection of transcribed dialogue poems in the words of Chuck Bass from The CW’s Gossip Girl. MFA Poetry & MFA Theater from Sarah Lawrence College.”

Residual Believers is an open call publication for artists whose work has been influenced by their experience with Catholicism. residualbelievers@gmail.com