a brief return to catholicism
i say nothing through parted lips
as i hear the voice of my father,
curtained through dewy eyelashes,
as he looks at wet thighs and prays.
but i don’t go to church anymore.
i haven’t seen the stained glass,
felt the splintered pews in years.
haven’t licked my fingers
like i saw the school teachers do,
flipping thin pages of hymn books.
yet this language isn’t foreign:
soon i too become one who looks
at wet thighs and prays. moving
like theirs, my lips return
to muscle memory.
the entrance of father pete,
with bilingual cracked lips
halts the misty-faced violence.
his sermon is generic like ads
mailed with the names filled
into the template blanks last.
pack away her summer shoes,
sweaters. throw away the hotel
shampoo bottles. save the collection
of small silver spoons, look at them
too often. take them out of their case
gently, cradle one in your palm and see
yourself distorted in its reflection.
the collective tongue prays no longer.
we take turns being individuals,
whispering to absence. when i
press my lips to her forehead,
it’s not warm anymore.
when my hands and feet
were smaller, and the air was uninterrupted,the shades drawn,
and i began to fall asleep,with my head pressed tight against the pillow, i thought that the steady beat in my ears
were tiny bacteria m a r c h i n g,in tiny uniforms and proportionaltiny army caps, off to battlesome other type of bacteria in uniforms of a different color to avoid confusion.
bum bum bum
the more intensely i eavesdropped,the quicker their tiny steps became,as if they knew i was on to them.
i’d take deep s l o w breaths
and pretend that i was sleeping,and their march shifted,matching my exhales.bum bumby the next morning, i knew i certainly had them fooled.