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Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact [email protected].

San Benito

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 18, 2018.
About this Poem 

“‘San Benito’ is part of a collage-portrait series exploring physical and spiritual elements attributed to various figures designated as saints. The black bird’s plural pronoun was a conscious attempt to recognize the holy traditions of our gender-variant, nonconforming, and two-spirit relatives, which kept coming up as I meditated on San Benito’s sacred medal.”
—Chip Livingston

San Benito

the black bird stripped off their feathers 
they issued the jubilee of plenary indulgence
in eucharistic communion expressing effects 
of anxieties intercessed and intersexed 

the black bird stripped off their feathers 
and threw themselves into a thicket of thorns 
protected by presence of viper and crown
a sacramental medal of uncertain origin

the poison was offered the glass was broken  
they issued the jubilee of plenary indulgence
the black bird stripped off their feathers 

Copyright © 2018 by Chip Livingston. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Chip Livingston. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.