Never let my hands be to any one
an occasion to temptation.
— ISABEL DE FLORES
She was the joke of the angels—a girl
crazy enough for God
that she despised her own beauty; who grew bitter herbs
to mix with her food,
who pinned a garland of roses to her forehead;
and who, in a fury of desire
concocted a potion of Indian pepper and bark
and rubbed it on her face, neck, and breasts,
Then, locked away in a dark cell,
where no reflection was possible,
she begged for death to join her with her Master
whom she called Divine Bridegroom, Thorn
in My Heart, Eternal Spouse.
She would see His vague outline, feel His cool touch
on her fevered brow,
but as relief came, her vision would begin to fade,
and once again she would dip the iron bar into the coals,
and pass it gently like a magician’s wand over her skin—
to feel the passion that flames for a moment,
in all dying things.