Chris Records: January 2019 Poet of the Month
The Virgin of the BART
The virgin doesn’t sweat. She doesn’t vomit. Her blood doesn’t dry brown. Her body isn’t frictive. It doesn’t chafe. Her body isn’t a process. Her body doesn’t cause anything. Her body is one with the air around it. It dissolves into mist. Her body isn’t ever on a subway platform. It doesn’t press against anything in a rush to occupy an open seat on a train. It is away. It is in the one empty car on the train. That car is always stuck in transit underneath the Bay.
The virgin has illegible gold writing carved into her wrists. No one can read it but her. Her hair is decorated with 12 millimeter strands of pink pearls. Her mouth is thin and closed. She doesn’t have a jaw. Her eyes are 12. Her 12 eyes are always upturned. Her 12 always upturned eyes are the 12 colors of the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem.
She writes a journal whose pages gleam. She cries on the pages. The gleaming words smell like fresh milk. The gleaming words are “HOLY” repeated a thousand times in all caps without communicating anger. The journal is sealed with wax. She heats the wax herself with a lamp she stows in a footlocker. The lamp is always burning. The lamp always burns blue. She stows the footlocker in a storage unit underneath the Bay.
The virgin wears tiny white shoes. The soles of the shoes are white. The soles of the shoes stare at the ceiling as she prays face down on the floor of the train car. The soles of the shoes are lily petals. She never takes them off. She never has to buy new ones. They don’t get dirty. She doesn’t actually stand on them.
The virgin wears a silver robe. It is embroidered with 12 tiny gold crescents. She embroidered them herself with a needle and thread that she keeps in the footlocker. The threads are strands of her hair. The needle is made of whale bone. It is extendable. It can be extended to become a sword.
She never takes the silver robe off. Her body appears to be sown into it. She sowed it in herself with the needle/sword. She used the same needle/sword to smite the devil. After she smote him, she threw the devil under the wheels of the train car that she inhabits. She makes sure the train car repeatedly rolls over his broken body before it can heal.
Chris Records is a grantwriter and community organizer living in Los Angeles. He works for two nonprofits: USC Shoah Foundation, which collects the testimonies of survivors of genocide and uses them in schools around the world; and Karam Foundation's Books Not Bombs initiative, which advocates for the creation of scholarships for Syrian refugee students. His work has been published in Entropy, Rabid Oak, Punch Drunk Press, and Salon.