Vessels (For Perpetua and Her Companions, Martyrs)

Father, said I, Do you see…this vessel lying, a pitcher or whatsoever it may be? And he said, I see it. And I said to him, Can it be called by any other name than that which it is? And he answered, No. So can I call myself nought other than that which I am, a Christian.
(Perpetua, The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, trans. W.H. Shewring)

There is no other name
for this calling which defines us
and brands us like sheep,
adopts us like children.

No other name for us,
vessels of this love
which sends us out into arenas
and fights for us with beasts.

And no other hope
which guides us through games
and strengthens our weakness
and gives us His name.

No other life
than the one we now go to,
leaving our fathers,
leaving our sons.

No other purpose
for which we may live,
no other family,
no other name.

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