The Saint in the Cauldron’s skin melted from his bones. His flesh blistered, his eyes imploded, his soul was torn. His wails to heaven could be heard from the fields to the plazas but no further. They say the ears of heaven heard only his pleas for mercy to the Roman executioners, who stood idly by the steaming cauldron, speaking of everyday Roman things—of glory, of old philosophies, of helmets…. Still, people sung of this saint’s bravery, since brave he was. They prayed under his idol for grace, incanting the times he cried the Lord’s name until the moment of his passing. They even dreamed. These most devout souls dreamed of the fair saint who decried the Lord’s grace, bled the blood of all martyrs, and succumbed willingly into the arms of God only after first being passed through the arms of his inquisitors. And that meaty flesh sizzled free of his bones, smelling for a time like fried swine until it was charred black and turned to soot.
~ LINER NOTES TO YEAR OF THE OX (SANATORIA, 1971), written in Arabic, widely assumed to be by BENNY SHARTRAND