Poem for Saint Blaise
Centuries before Francis stepped out
of his silky robes to cup a sparrow
in his pale hands and lean forward to catch
God’s soft chirping notes, there was Blaise
from Armenia. First devoted to medicine
Blaise withdrew from his bishop’s duties
for days at a time to sit in a cave and pray.
Of course men and women lined up outside
for consultations—the scratchy cough,
bloated belly, headaches persisting
even after a good night’s rest.
Animals came too—wolves, tigers, bears.
Whether they stood in separate lines
is not mentioned in the literature.
What made Blaise a saint was his healing touch.
That, and the beheading in the end.
I call on him now as I wait like a penitent
at the vet’s office, my sick pup panting
and glassy-eyed at the end of his leash. Blaise
cured everything—the aching paw, the broken rib,
the bone lodged in the throat of the child,
the fear clogging the heart.
About the author:
Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Natural Bridge, The Florida Review, River Styx, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, Cave Wall, Redbook and other journals. She has published five poetry collections, most recently The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press, 2008) and Snack Size: Poems (Mello Press, 2012). Her poems have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. Lisa is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado and lives with her family in Fort Collins.