Saints in Bondage (Kitty’s Garden) – A Poem

For my dear friend Kitty, who I would like to thank for inspiring this poem with her idea of a camp for wayward people. Thank you for being generous with that and in allowing me to use it. I even have the ponies and campfire in it!

Saints in Bondage (Kitty’s Garden)

Wayward they begin to
arrive at Kitty’s Garden. Standing on the veranda
I can see them.
Coming up the road, usually as solitary
and lonely creatures, but some in groups of two
or three, they
wander through the camp’s single gate, passing the
ponies weeping in
the shame filled meadows, to lounge
under the banana trees
with the daffodils in bloom.

“Ferdinand and I are through,” Kitty says, her profile
gleaming in the afternoon
sun as she relates to me how he likes to
collect stray souls,
lock them in a small, heart shaped glass that he
enjoys sucking on. He traps it between
his gums and cheek, allowing it ever so seldom to
briefly dance
with his slender tongue.

“It tastes like cherries,”
she states with a sweet, reflective smile.
“The glass that is,”
adding
to my bewilderment.

Ferdinand frequents brightly
lit office buildings,
“Meandering the cubicles, lingering in the halls to stalk
his prey.” He reveals
a dashing smile beneath a smart cut, thin mustache
to lure them in
as he hungrily makes small talk near
the copy machine, or beside the
elevator doors.

The guests who enter Kitty’s Garden are
shy refugees seeking asylum,
hesitantly finding
companionship as they eat oranges near the pool, fearing
the cool
glassy water. They have
wormed their way up, slithering from their netherworlds
of robust quarterly meetings, shock
therapy treatments, and
happy hour sessions that
Ferdinand would attend, standing at the bar, a surly look
on his face, pretzels snapping
in his pink fingers.
He takes deliberate sips from a Pina Colada
with a single shot of Peppermint Schnapps.
His favorite drink.

Night comes, shadows claw
their way across the land and sky. The gate shuts
on noiseless hinges. Those
of us who are held safely behind the camp’s invisible
barriers are nothing more than
saints in bondage, weaving
together a blanket to cover ourselves in, using
as thread our fractured
stories of rejection, singing our tales of disgrace
around the campfire.

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