Secret Missionary for the Virgin Mary Off His Meds

By Sheryl Luna

He writes of grenades, a universe exploding.


It’s inexhaustible, the sky. Something about badness

turns him on. Passion a candle with two wicks.


He says to me, “keep burning.”

He often falls out of love,


handles language like a theologian, misses

lilies. Late he insists fall’s leaves aren’t dead.


His knowledge flickers brown-bagged, like rows

of luminaria candles at night. Seasonal

Affective, he deals with feminine questions.


He argues without hearing his own voice.


Within an occasional dream, he hears language

glide along the starched collars of men.


He will not let himself show sadness or joy.

He forgets the late afternoon lake

golden, and the geese calling out in droves.


No gang-banger, his past is a series of commitments,

seventy-four-hour holds, Haldol and Seroquel.

Now refusing meds,


he’s found the weather quite bothersome.

Wringing his hands to a fallen image of God,

he has a hurried urgency to be uninvolved.


Like a man in solitary confinement

in prison tossing shit to the guards,


he refuses to smile. Know-it-all criticisms of others

make his days. He cannot let go atheism or disbelief.


Electroshock therapy has him grasping at a forgotten past.

He walks lanky towards a loneliness he won’t refuse.


And the aftermath of madness is calm.


He tries to forget the dread of monotonous expectation.


We, with the same steps, trod towards some understanding,

some philosophy. All of us, keepers of secrets.