Author: Martha Braniff

beloved of God,
hangs on mean streets,
a loose-legged girl,
wearing fishnet hose, stiletto heels,
brown lilies in her hair.

At the laundromat
she rendezvous with her lover,
rose-yellow radiance
streaming from his limbs.

She lifts her shades to meet his eyes,
and washes his feet
with sweet detergent,
her hair a lavish towel.
Peter, John and Thomas
demand a pimp’s portion,
don’t believe she’s seen him
with her mystic eyes,
or that she caressed the face
of her mummy redeemer.

She just blows them off,
because through it all,
she stood with her man,
held his body, lost and bleeding.

In an upper room,
Magdalene strips off her glasses,
kneels on the floor
near her beloved,
kissing holes in His hands.
Sacred breath,
the flame descends
to light her cigarette.
Magdalene inhales,
draws long
to keep from rushing things.

This poem is published in Songs from the Bone Closet, Braniff’s book of poems and short fiction available from Stone River Press. Her novel, Step Over Rio, is forthcoming from The Way Things Are Publications.