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At the Feast of St. Francis by Jeanne Scroggs

Here are plates of jalapeno nachos
beside bony, blood-red ribs and sequins
brush shoulders with sheltered lice at the Feast of St. Francis.
Fake fronts on a fake street, humbly robed in gray,
standing dead-eyed beyond the spill of crimson lanterns.
Trumpets blast and moan like souls owing penance,
A fierce gypsy divines the past
that lingers like candlelit flutters on a young girl’s face.
Each weary crease gathers the dark of spies crouched beneath a harvest moon,
nimbus-rimmed on a night of canticles and spells.
Saints conspire in swirls above the wine-red masses,
as the blithe weave in and out of jasmine-scented halos.
A bird erupting, the girl dives, head cocked,
sylvan-eyed, into the crowd;
now he hovers like a halo on her hair, not yet tangled in the strands.

Jeanne Scroggs is a poet, essayist, and artist currently residing in Winterset, IA.
She can be reached at