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Kimberly Nunes


The Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Giuseppi Bazzani

We ambled the Borghese Gardens,
where trees
lined up like obedient children
led us to the Galleria—
all those creamy statues inside.

Where I sat on a bench to scrutinize
Apollo and Daphne, the nymph naked in mid-run,
teenagers still—the young god pulls her to him, and already
her arms are tree bark, hair dusty,
fingers leafed, and feet like roots.

In one church, Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.
She’s having an orgasm
on shards of stone, but I didn’t know that yet.
Each day, strolling the heat, in the cool dark, Rome’s
fathomless art, then we’d find a place
where only the Romans eat, away from the tourists.

Two priests dined at table close to us
one evening. Garlic pasta, onion caramelized lamb,
chickpeas in vinegar. Bloodred wine.
You can tell by their dress, they’re Dominican, my father said.

Black ceiling and candlelight, the priests’ mirthful mouths smacking
over linens tucked to their chins, and round,
their bodies, crosses hanging like jewelry. The waiter was their friend.

I almost wanted to be them.
Never a nun, again, as I’d once conceived, I’d become.
Too hidden, the nuns.

So many ways to live a life, the voice in my head.
Fat braided ropes of mozzarella on a platter
before us now, the size of small chickens—
drenched in green oil and crushed spice. The first course.


About the writer:
Kimberly Nunes’s poems have been published in The Alembic, Apricity Magazine, Blue Light Press Anthology, Brushfire, California Quarterly, Caveat Lector, El Portal, Evening Street Review, Mantis, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, The Madison Review, The Round, Spotlog Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, and Adelaide Literary Magazine. Her poem “Morning at Moore’s Lake, Again” was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize. She has attended numerous writing workshops and studied with Marie Howe, Sharon Olds, Ellen Bass, and many others. Kimberly sits on the board of Four Way Books in New York City.

Image: The Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Giuseppi Bazzani (1690-1769). Oil on canvas. 29.9 x 23.6 inches. Between 1745 & 1750. Public domain.

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