‘My name is Legion: for we are many’

by Ramona Herdman

My favourite miracle – the casting out
of devils from the cut and howling man
who lived in tombs above the town.

It cast them into swine, a panicking that sped
the herd to drown themselves like lightning
in the sea. I feel for the townspeople,

the lawful, who thought the madman unbearable trouble
until they saw the miracle – and then
begged the saint (on their knees) to go, godspeed,

even gave him a boat.
                                   Then had to eat the pork,
fished out, boiled down to brawn, for lack.

Had to watch each other, in fear,
for symptoms of contagion.
I think of them when I visit your stink.

When I reach in bare-armed to pull you from your bed.
When I suggest sunlight. When clearing up.
When I talk in a voice even I hate, of hope.

 

(New Testament, Mark 5:1-20)