How to Inhabit the room of a song? Who hears? Who is listening? Is it dangerous to be loud? Little by little I expand. I am in an attic, above a sleeping town, a foreigner. It feels safe to be unknown. The landscape is dry, with purple thistles and small red canyons. On the news: the report of another suicide bomber.

I am surrounded by images of Mary Magdalene. She is an icon. She is a mockery: simultaneously a caricature of and symbol for feminine wisdom. She offers solace and provokes longing...and dark fury. Who is this cloistered lady? She who for thousands of years before Christianity went by another name; Isis, Sophia, Athena, Minerva, Diana, Brigid. She has been spayed. Where is the wrathful one, the fearsomely-protective mother, the devouring queen-whore?

magdelena

stairway stone and narrow
leads up around
out of sight–
sparrows like handfuls of
words tossed to the winds
as morning comes in
long fingers between
curtains and the sill–
touch my skin

Magdalena
your face is serene
palms pressed together
what do you see?

hidden under the splendour of
churches make your way
through these houses
take away–
memory is a veil
and i am naked
in a panic
to keep fear away

and words are bottles
moving with the tides–
we are smoke
dissipating across miles

Magdalena
what do you see?
while skies divide
rage, ignorance
pierce through with light

olive tree
teach me to stand
silently

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