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Poem #17

Holy Ground

After I tell him I’m tired of crashing into someone else’s desperation, I reach for you and conquer misplaced loyalty with a flaming sword taken from my mouth used to slice rusted fetters that fall at last then kicked beneath my dress and open the door for you.

I, a crashing bewilderment coaxed to bed with whispers of peppermint & lavender.

You, sliding down, saying how good it feels to be alive. Speak, you tell my body.

I fall to pieces, trembling when you ask if anyone has ever taken care of me. There wasn’t any time, I say, struck by truth while you light animal fat candles; your clothes fall from on-high before preparing the altar. What’s it like to be a pagan?

It’s a daily practice, you say–shimmering softness to anoint with oil, using fingertips to mould me into something new, pilgrimaging south.

Do you know, you ask, eyes heavenward, how important the body is? It holds us perfectly, the way I feel about you now is wrapped in me, too, how easily I bear the burden. Something about that makes me want to hide under covers, not ready to reveal actual happiness. I’m much better at working on wellness, not at actually being.

You say, Find a way, then haul me into the shower to cleanse impurities that have glommed onto my skin; your nails finding refuge against my scalp, washing at length the fullness of my hair, a servant that worships on his knees.

After a hundred Hail Marys, I am blessedly bundled, the Ark from Mount Sinai tucked against your body as you whisper foreign prayers into my ear, calling me sanctified in a language I’ve yet to teach myself.


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