I Am the Breath of Saint John

by Terry Trowbridge
The Novice Monk

Konstantin Savitsky, “The Novice Monk” (a fragment, 1887)

choke the Almighty unto a new waking.
I sit on her chest so she can’t try to run

I am the breath of Saint John.
My face is a prayer.
See me.
I will pry the razor blade from you fingers
the way I count the rosary beads in my fingers
I will pry the razor blade from your fingers
the way I am supposed to count the rosary beads in my fingers
I will pry your finger off the razor blade
like I will pry the rosary beads from the fingers of the hospital chaplain where I die
I will ply the razor blade through my fingers;
if I lose as much blood as you lose, it will not be losing.
My face is a prayer, look at your reflections in my eyes,
look at your reflections in my teeth,
listen to your name in my tongued plea.
Let go of this, don’t let go of the rest.


* The title is two lines from a rough draft of a poem by Marc di Saverio, 2017.

About the author

Terry Trowbridge

Terry Trowbridge is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2023), PhD candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at York University (Toronto) and part-time plum farmer. His poetry has appeared in Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Carousel, Lascaux Review, Kolkata Arts, Leere Mitte, untethered, Snakeskin Poetry, Progenitor, Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Pinhole, Big Windows, Muleskinner, Brittle Star, Mathematical Intelligencer, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, New Note, Hearth and Coffin, Synchronized Chaos, Indian Periodical, Delta Poetry Review, Literary Veganism and more. His literary criticism has been published in BeZine, Erato, Amsterdam Review, Ariel, British Columbia Review, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Episteme, Studies in Social Justice, Rampike, and The /t3mz/ Review. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant.

© The Evening Universe, 2022-2024. All Rights Reserved.