The martyrs in blue stained glass
are always dying.
See them today, tomorrow,
next week, same story:
you’ll catch them mid-throe.

They whisper blessings, curses,
eyes raised to heaven,
which weeps, or hurls lightning,
or politely refrains from comment.

Meanwhile votive candles
burn coldly in blue glass.
Pews in implacable rows
promise discomfort, redemption.
Hymnals hum softly,
hug dirges tight
between dusty covers.

Irreverent woman, taking
notes on dust and dour
saints, doubting hellfire
and heaven, still closes
her eyes, imagines her life
extolled in hymns,
her portrait in blue stained glass.

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ROSALIE MORALES KEARNS, a writer of Puerto Rican and Pennsylvania Dutch descent, is the author of the short story collection Virgins and Tricksters (Aqueous, 2012). One of the stories in the collection earned a Special Mention in the 2013 Pushcart Prize volume. Her stories, poems, essays, and reviews have appeared most recently in Witness, Fiction Writers Review, and Numéro Cinq. She has an MFA from the University of Illinois, and has taught creative writing at Illinois and SUNY-Albany. Rosalie is the founder of the Lake House Collective, a group of book reviewers focusing on books by women authors.

2 responses to “Martyrs in Blue Stained Glass”

  1. Rich Boucher says:

    This is fine, fine poetry here, Rosalie.

    I love the contradictions in here: “….candles burn coldly…..Pews…..promise discomfort, redemption…”

    And blue glass. I love blue glass.

    Thank you for this one!

  2. suba suba says:

    This is a list of phrases, not an essay. you will be incompetent

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