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To reconcile this hallowed morning
with his haunted night,
he thinks of the French
serving their carnal obsessions
and Byzantine transgressions for lent.
Consume at Carnival, then torch the memory to ash.
He is no longer French, he muses,
his hot breath limping
in rhythm to a loose fist,
and he was never a saint.

Last night's company
was more or less complicated:
a pumpkin, Spiderella, "Huge" Hefner.
Shimmering around the house,
their clothes finally made sense.
His sadistic nun costume was easy to pull off
but hardly original.
Implied instruments under the cloak-
friend's donations, found objects.
He could explain the dog collar,
maybe the beaded belt, but the rest?

Later, two girls at a bar in purple lingerie.
"En francais?" he wondered. Lingering.
"Negligee." Neglected? Dreamy enough for me,
he sat, pensive, until the creamy-skinned woman
with Gothic black hair whispered,
"Mother Superior! We've been SO naughty!"

After how many rounds of charm and coquetry
this new city spread wide for him.
He pressed his self-consciousness
into the first dark fold he could find
and continued swaying with the masses,
stalking behind his mask.
Surprised by his savoir-faire, he chanted
"A yard-stick rules in the hands of a Saint"
to the bent-over babes outside the bathroom.
They barely seemed real. Then he remembered
how their knees buckled from the sting.

      — Carrie Cerri