Give me the word that holy woman
said when she burned her hand.
I need to hear the syllables
that a saintly, perfect soul
uses to shoot the pain into space,
that makes the sniggering Devil
cover his mouth and turn a color
which doesn't have a name.

The thing of four letters
erupting from the geyser
when life crawled from the sea
onto a sharp, cold rock—
I'd share that sacred sound
with seven billion friends,
some smacked by black storms,
others standing in hot shame
when soldiers have had their fun.

Is it a suitable thing
to teach a toothless baby?
Is that the question you ask?
And you assume that the kid
doesn't already know it
from when she was plopped out
into searing white light?

'Cause I think you know the word
but are too shocked to share it
and hope I'll go away
so you won't bear
the responsibility of truth.

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