The Shrine of the Black Madonna

Dian Arbus, “Shrine of the Black Madonna” Detroit, Michigan, 1970

Is oiled wet where the oil popped

         Grease on the mary-blue

Turning-white fire-blooms, blooming fast

         From the encrusted stove.

Tattooed with the salt, the pepper,

         The dry parsley flakes,

The chicken breast blacks stiffly while

         Night children sleep.

Unclasp the gold chain, the tired shoe

         And come with me! he said.

In his quick boy’s eye, he caught her flying up

         Shoe removed, bone and skin shed.

The sun rose and her sons rose to find clothes

         Scattered in open repose

A little ashen chicken loosing orange glows;

         A recently shut-off stove.

Who stole her, cries the youngest.

Where is she, moans the oldest.

A pale man with no skin, flying due west

         He thinks, standing, the coldest.

 by: Doreen St. Felix, Contributor 

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