Anthony Lioi

In Issue 8 on October 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

The Empiricist

—for Alicia Ostriker

When Mary and others burst
in the upper room—He is risen!

I was elsewhere,
wailing, gnashing my teeth.

Then I returned
and would not assent.

Dreams rot:
better to face facts—

until I see the marks,
until my fingers place the nails,

Kaddish continues,
minyan or not.

Then a wind, a scent
from spice mountains,

and a wholly unknown
friend, twin took my hand.

Many waters—from side, wrist,
or brow—cannot quench

the blooming thorns,
the sweetened vinegar.

Turn these stones to bread,
Thomas, we are not forsaken.

Long have I been named:
Doubter, Gnostic, Martyr.

They say I fled East to preach
a land that didn’t know me shamed.

What do they know?
After-days, I lived the secret—

Chosen, Wisdom, Hermes,
Mary, Jesus, Christ—

made it known.
You who have ears to hear

May you be healed,
May you be at peace.

I have touched the wounds,
I beheld the bough blossom.


Anthony Lioi is a native of New Jersey and a citizen of Providence, RI. He has yet to encounter the Jersey Devil, but not for lack of trying. His poetry has appeared in Watershed, Environmental Philosophy, and The Dark Mountain Project.

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