Ashley Roach-Freiman



Does she know she’s being looked at? St. Teresa
of Avila, light-pierced, in the Cornaro Chapel in Rome,
lips fish-parted, marble-wet. Stucco rays of gold. Bernini’s blank
angel beams down at the flailing saint, one hand lifting
a cold robe, the other holding the divine arrow
of pain. Cameras flash and the saint is lit.
Teresa sought illumination—
penetration. Abdomen soldered, wrought
with grace.
                        Have I sought illumination?
Was I enlightened at any moment I was pierced?
I open my right hand, blank-palmed.
My small flesh, unrepentant, nails bitten. I am
the camera. I am the light. The fingers, arrows, transfiguring hurt.


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