(St. Theresa of Avila, Bernini)
The woman is not perfected, she moans.
She has travelled so far her body erupts.
The sculpted stone – a moment
where time splits the force of duration,
opens the woman to mortal excess.
Light falls, deified, in carnal folds –
fold after fold in rhythmic waves,
climaxing in her abandoned face –
heavy-lidded eyes, aquiline nose,
her tender-lipped mouth forms
the whispered supplication,
pleasurable pain, the holy hurts
of her spirit’s yes … yes …
The angel’s forearm is all vulnerability,
the delicacy of his hand unsayable –
he lifts her robes – the numinous measure
of diffuse desire, erotic control. At the iron tip
of his great golden spear, a point of fire.
staring at the image on a computer screen
in an office full of office things,
I, the communicant,
head on the desk,
yearn for the spirit’s ravish of stone.