orison for joan of arc

by Lip Manegio

there is something to be said
about lashing yourself to the stake

i was raised girl & then became
this flamed out frame, cloaked in man
i crafted myself into a dagger
because what is a body worth
if it is not a weapon / bared set of teeth
shouldered sword against the lines of men
waiting to smell blood

i want to know:
if joan had worn a dress atop her horse
would we still beatify her
can anything unapologetically fem
still be seen / holy / or even just seen
without the flames to light the way

i have had to arson myself to be heard
pour gasoline across a pyre
shaved half my head
& named it a controlled burn
is this how i make my sainthood

what is a non-man anyway
if not a thing waiting to blaze
one way or another

when i pray to joan it feels like i am praying to the myth of myself
or some stain glass mirror i am waiting to see my reflection in
& i have spent so long tumbling towards sanctum boy
that i have forgotten how to fold my hands the way i was taught
how to bend my knees & neck together
how to snuff the smolder & be still hallow

Lip Manegio is a trans, queer nonbinary poet based in Boston where they are working towards a BFA in creative writing at Emerson College. Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Flypaper Magazine, Puerto del Sol, the minnesota review, Tin House, and elsewhere. They are the author of “We’ve All Seen Helena” (Game Over Books, 2019).

Artwork by: Eleanor Leonne Bennett