Academic journal article Field

When I Think about the First Pope to Quit

Academic journal article Field

When I Think about the First Pope to Quit

Article excerpt

that job, 1294, five months in,

almost Christmas, Celestine the Fifth

and how before: We need

an honest man and you're it, Pietro di Morone, the cardinals

in their red-lavish showing up at his cave, he

having visions enough, eating grass in between,

no, shaking his head no-a lot of good

that does.

Abducted to elegance, proper meals, a table, real

linen under the suddenly rich look of him,

he wasn't anymore. Or hardened further, a nub quite

outside himself-though there is no self-shiny as a star

he'd turn away from every time, big windows

or no windows.

And why do I quiet and thrill to this decoder ring

in the cereal box, nuns telling us

squat-everything else back to zero, the old days,

little desks, sit up straight.

And why are the long days so short?

The brain is a superpower of play and replay. Certain moments.

That poor man in his ecstatic loneliness

digesting his impossible porridge of weeds and sticks

looks up again to who is that

down the rocky crevice, how they tripped and cried out like

babies or the black bird,

held onto each other trying for regal and upright,

a colorful flash, a feast

out of hell to tempt him. …

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