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This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Hunger Strikes (Broken Sequence) Victoria Kennefick
1. Hunger Strikes Catherine of Siena (1347–1380)

My sister taught me how.
Oh Bonaventura, they wanted
me to marry him, the slack-jawed widower.

I vomited twigs, hid in the convent,
wore a widow’s habit. The other nuns complained
until at twenty-one I met Him.

He presented me with a ring fashioned from His skin.
Told me this sliver of flesh bound us,
wait, He told me, promising it would be special.

I levitated; only ate His body, others did not
understand how good it was
to kiss His holy prepuce.

Oh, Bonaventura, I am a house of sticks,
my bones rattle with desire until I lick it.
I feel it quiver, alive on my tongue.

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