There is a monk in the corner without a head
who must (I’m suddenly sure) must be St. Francis
with only a concave depression where his neck should be…

But then St. Francis probably found his head to be this
extraneous appendage which only weighed him down
when his heart with bloody wings was really just ready
to fly round the world to accomplish more than we think…

While above this decapitated saint is one of the overworked
angels carrying a twig of laurel that stands out clearly as if
to offer the saint the peace which is so regularly denied the rest
of us when all of us are here in the midst of serial tropical storms
which keep careening in from Mystery Island while the interior, the
national insides dry up and blow away and then burn up the first
responders whose pop tents were not proof against the fiery resins
whose fate escapes the kindness of St. Francis whose arms still
reenact benediction as if he knows, finally knows what we need
          and what
we should become even without a head, and, yes indeed, he
          never really
needed a head when he had all that beautiful winged high
          flying heart…


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.