REVERSE MIDAS

She had wished for gold baubles and bay-leaf laurels,
some things from her classics classes. Head girls
never learn to slake that popularity thirst,
but Fate, fickle, foolish, turning, can spin them worse.

The cross she wore about her throat went first.
The crucified Jesus and each golden link transmogrified to turds.
Every doorknob, chair or table her cack-hand touched,
became a hot-steamed pile some cruel God had thrutched.

Eating figs in meetings, her mouth became a swirling toilet bowl
of angry tods. She spat and spoke in farts, her tongue a hardened stool.
Across continents, they crowned her the shit-stained fool,
who’d been Queen for an hour until the tiara had fouled.

Flies followed her. A meal. Feast. Behind, a wake of churning crap
transformed to shit each cleanliness its frothing-filth lapped.
When all was gone to shot, she tapered, curled herself,
drew one last miser’s push. The almighty sphincter pinched her off.

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DOUBTING THERESA

Three times she denied.

First she was flat, sheet
metal in a machine press
turning out cold, steel sinks.
You could see your face in her.
Water rang inside her bowl
like a church bell echoes
over a morning field.
All surface-slick, resistant.

Three times she denied.

Second, she slid inside
another’s skin. She became
a vicar’s daughter, head girl,
Queen, high witch.
She imagined power, saw signs
in clouds, drew portents
in the entrails of a fox with a stick,
fell in love with a magic mirror.

Three times she denied.

Third, stooped, contrite,
prostrate before a Priest,
a hair-shirt bristling her breast
and back, dung flung, her plea:
she would play pig, sheep, ass,
do dumbshow, acrobat, high-wire
trapeze. She finished the act
with a somersault. They laughed.