I first became interested in Mary Karr when my Jewish-atheist sister-in-law gave me her book of poems Sinners Welcome for Christmas a couple of years ago. The essay linked to below, "Facing Altars," is included in the book. This is the title poem:
I opened up my shirt to show this man
the flaming heart he lit in me, and I was scooped up
like a lamb and carried to the dim warm.
I who should have been kneeling
was knelt to by one whose face
should be emblazoned on every coin and diadem:
no bare-chested boy, but Ulysses,
with arms thick from the hard-hauled ropes.
He'd sailed past the clay gods
and the singing girls who might have made of him
a swine. That the world could arrive at me
with him in it, after so much longing—
impossible. He enters me and joy
sprouts from us as from a split seed.
1 day ago