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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.

Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston’s most recent poetry collection is Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (NYQ Books, 2012). He teaches in the low-residency MFA programs at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Regis University. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

by this poet

poem

The jacaranda blooms beside the drunk stick tree.
Come. I see you swelling with nectar. Hear you,
Venteveos, shriek till night. Come. See me.
The jacaranda blooms beside the drunk stick tree.
The violent violet petals pollen weep.
A bichofeo sings of you with open throat

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