That was a time the sick took their gospels,
the priceless ones, and dipped them in water,
which in turn they drank as an elixir,
and why not. There was a god after all
in the text of things, and in these scenes
of saints who knelt beside their canticles,
in the bits of scripture that bled a little.
People clung to every stitch back then,
to the pine soot, lampblack, animal tar,
the vellum cut from the meat they slaughtered.
Can you blame the hopeful if they offered
a portion of their prayer to prayer. Here,
they said, and the songs they opened opened
them, bright and hungry, to take them in.