and though some called her "freak",
she was not that. No,
she was an ordinary marvel, much as we are,
us goddesses of the neighborhood--
doing what we will, when left to our own.
Two of her hands, such slender-fingered hands,
such that we all felt a little breathless when she would
smooth her windblown hair back,
were used to do the devil's work--
depending, of course, on which devil's
kids were in school til three, or husband gone
til god knows when, maybe forever--
a devil's work is never done, so they say.
Two of her hands were used to pray,
and when she prayed, the saints themselves sighed
and crossed themselves, forgetting to answer back.
Saint Sebastian no longer felt the sting of the arrows,
and Saint Cecilia lost track of her breathing right in the middle
of her hymn to God.
Prayer can be, should be,
a two way street, and she lit up the lines
at her very first whispered word.
One hand left,
an idle hand perhaps, you'll say.
This hand traced its lineage back to her Romanian high-wire ancestors,
knife-throwers, artisans of every stripe.
She told us once, laughing, that past midnight,
this hand became possessed of magic and did the most astonishing things,
all of its own accord.
I don't know about that,
but what I do know is, she knew how to crook it--
angled toward true north,
and when she did, on those fine afternoons,
I no longer had a choice, and just like her devils and saints,
calling her name as if the window weren't wide open
and the seasons, at her bidding, changing gloriously on a dime.