In Praise of Sins of the Tongue
by Liz Dolan

Because St. Blaise talked a wolf
into releasing a pig gripped in his teeth,
on his feast day, throats are blessed
with two crossed candles to dislodge
stuck fish-bones, to stave off flu.
And to eschew the sins of calumny,
backbiting, boasting and rash judgment.

Oh the burden of the blessing from that
roasted martyr! How can we stop
our willful tongues from weaving stories
that keep us quick in this blighted bog.
                                      ‘Tis manna in the desert.

What harm if it’s at a blackguard’s expense?
Sure no man upright believes half our palaver;
we merely strive to trump the other
with the most fantastical tale we can conjure
like the grand one I fabricated yester-week
about your shrew of a wife sobbing
before the aurora borealis thinking it was a vision
of the Virgin Mary herself on a Whit-sun’s eve.

Liz Dolan’s poetry manuscript, A Secret of Long Life, nominated for the Robert McGovern Prize, will soon be published by Cave Moon Press. Her first poetry collection, They Abide, was published by March Street. A six-time Pushcart nominee and winner of Best of the Web, she was a finalist for Best of the Net 2014. She has received fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, The Atlantic Center for the Arts and Martha’s Vineyard. Liz serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories. She is most grateful for her ten grandchildren who pepper her life.

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