Saint of Swimming Goggles – David Brennan

after Raymond Nogar

A dozen pair of blue swimming goggles
drape the neck of this concrete

man beside the pool, his starved
face pushed forward in a howl of prayer–

Fiacre of Breuil, patron of hemorrhoids
and taxi cabs, gardeners and venereal disease,

a healer who offered to any and all ill
travelers a bed in his hospice,

excepting women. His mortified
cheeks gleam with baptism. The toddler,

who stands at his height, dips
each pair of goggles in the water

before slipping them around his neck, a jumble
of blue bling. Who every time she arrives

with a new offering
takes his small head in her hands

and absolves him with a single
kiss upon the forehead–forgiven, saint

who would sink instead of swim.


David Brennan’s most recent book is Murder Ballads: Exhuming the Body Buried Beneath Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (Punctum Books). His poems have appeared in PANK, Heavy Feather Review, Verse Daily and elsewhere. He teaches at James Madison University in Virginia.

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