How the Ninety Hidden Anarchist Saints Travelled Through Time on a Diet of Worms
John W. Sexton

October, 1517, Dr.
Martin Luthor nailed a mystic poem,
Ninety-Five Theses, to the heavy door
of the Wittenberg Castle Church; ninety-
five verses of revolution, paper
cog in an abstract self-winding mantel-

clock. Once that nail compacted grain, mantel-
clocks through time and space synchronised, doctored
themselves to move forwards, backwards, ninety
brief seconds worth of collapsing time, door
after door through godthought; finite poem
so small that it’s infinite on paper,

a paradox, till time’s thin as paper;
so thin it becomes the crusting mantle
of Christ’s ooze. In a swampy field doctor-
flies, horseflies to some, land on skin, ninety
to a person, ninety saints at the door
to the earth-spring, mystic hidden poem

of the hidden saints, the anti-poem
that’s worth more than the weight of the paper
it’s written on. Letters on your mantel
contain same poem, by the way. Doctor
Luthor wrote them himself. There are ninety
letters there. We’ve read them all, opened doors

through time by reading them out loud, one door
opening onto another, poems
malign as prescriptions from a doctor
struck off the list. So light the gas mantle
and watch it catch in its breath like paper
burning until it’s gone. Count to ninety

and the world will unwind, in just ninety
seconds flat. All clocks are priming the door
to open; Pope Innocent reads poem
after poem written in smoke, paper
blackening like an old widow’s mantle.
Faith is undone. Someone call a doctor.

Did someone call a doctor? Yes, ninety
of us through a poem; opened the door
where, on paper, God’s a mollusc’s mantle.