Terry Kirts is a senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI and the restaurant critic for Indianapolis Monthly. His chapbook To the Refrigerator Gods will be released from Seven Kitchens Press this July.
Terry’s intro to the poem: Several years ago, I slipped and fell on the ice, fracturing my elbow. While I was recovering, I came across St. Drogo, an obscure hermit and saint who is the patron of broken bones (and mothers and baristas). I love when life experiences—or life mishaps—lead me down the path toward a poem.
Supplication to the Saint of Broken Bones
O motherless, son of nursemaids,
who had no breast to comfort him nor lap for soothing
swaddle this limp arm the night’s ice took from me
settle the cranky infants of this prodigal joint
resolve the fiddling rift of ball and socket, soul and bone.
O mottled and many-pocked
whose pustules burned the eyes of all who passed
touch this winter-parched flesh with your salves and balms
anoint me with the cooling pitch of chrism, the branch’s wine
restore the gloss and shimmer to this world-worn, guilty skin.
O most covert of cooks,
who mingled barley bread with ash and hid his dishes
haunt my dusty kitchen with your forks and cleavers
brew me a soup of wheat stalk and river stone so that I, too, may
taste the refugee’s feast, the meat of believing.
O body in two places,
who rang the bells and marched in the procession
teach me to be the envy of every waiter or wife
make me of one mind and many tasks—shepherd and servant
fracture me in time to tend each bleat or pleading.
O great émigré of the ages
who knew exile was the true heaven on earth
build me a shanty at the side of the world and mortgage
it for forty years, help me to know the pilgrim’s love of deserts,
the ecstasy of journeys, the frenzy in each moment of the wait.
The Indiana Humanities Council is posting poems on Think.Read.Talk. by Hoosier poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. Other Indiana celebrations include poetry readings at the Artsgarden (above the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets, Indianapolis), performed each Monday at 12:15 p.m. For a schedule of events, click here.