Jasmine V. Bailey, "Procession of Santa Lucia"




In silver one week a year you loom

and abandon by Christmas

Sicily for your shuttered privacy.


No one is more wanted or

kept closed or rudely opened

than you are in a death


preserved by Italians amazed 

at chastity, lesser miracles. 

The dagger


never leaves your neck,

the palm and candle catch


only in Swedish pantomimes.

Your brocade screen

prevents the spectacle 


of further sainthood: no one sees

the salt tears or bloody neck

your simulacrum might emit


on display in avid Mexico. 

You tug against

the routine orders of men and their courts:



closet—bier and the heaving 

of twenty bodies under your weight.


How you hide and comply and self-expose

and resist. I saw cripples walk 

the whole six hours 


leaning on barefoot mothers.



Jasmine V. Bailey’s first book-length collection of poems, Alexandria, was published in February 2014 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and other journals.