Saint Barbara

Though her feast day comes twenty-one days ahead of Saint Nicholas, she too wears red and white, bestowing gifts, granting protection to firefighters, sailors, artillerymen, architects.

I pray for protection too, from fire, thunder, lightning.  I hope to escape sudden death, though I’d rather be spared the mounting crescendo of a deliberate one.

Ordered to be paraded naked through town, a mist drifted in to hide her.  Torches were held to her, yet her flesh did not burn.  The day her father arranged her beheading, lightning struck him dead.

Though I am only an architect where words are concerned, only a sailor after moon-rise, my pupils anchored to wheeling star-froth, I too have seized the palm branch of martyrdom.  And you as well, I am certain.

You have tried to escape the high tower and hide among shepherds and sheep, only to be dragged back by the rough hands of what you have chosen, what you have done, or by other things that shall remain nameless.

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