You sleep long hours, Bethany
and dream of almost nothing
In waking chills you smell the calm sea
like martyrs’ singing blood
You return, you return, and again, you return
to hollow, filthy beds
Now, once more, at living peace
you tell fables of your decency

You write short letters, Bethany
of love, of need, of lust
With flowing, pretty calligraphy
the words sate your judge
Your answers to persecuting scorn
are meek and callow lips
pressed firmly to the throne of God
You convince your need of charity

You live for self, Bethany
and feel no moment’s shame
A silent siren stripped of dignity
still taking what you crave
You sit among the broken poor
and demand an offering
But, thrust out into the street
you will no longer find leniency