Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 01/01/21

Father

I am ashamed of my schism,
my contortionist brain and tongue.
Told status is a ticket to love.
Take hurried notes

on how to be righteous, worship Satan at
my school, eat full-metal propaganda.
I should

be enough–one day. I am a contradiction.
Confess on knee through a beehive
covering your honeycomb profile, tell the truth
about wearing the Devil’s cotton fingers
when I am menstruating. Only

a sociopath could’ve come up with both
invention and condemnation.
Is it always what you say it is,
Father?

I wear a rosary under my shirt;
I like the cold burn.
I’m as invisible as God in a church.
Contrition, disclosure, satisfaction.

I am ashamed of my shame.
Coming to terms with gasoline
next to my Mary Janes, matches
nervously scratching, a chalk border of burns,
acting as though speech exonerates
my clotted gauze and knotted deeds.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat after me:

I cannot choose to be the seed or the poison.
I can choose not to be the harvest.
I think. I think. I think I stammer
if I am trying to be honest;

Father, you have sinned.

©2021 Kaci Skiles Laws All rights reserved.

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer living in Dallas—Fort Worth. She is an editor at Open Arts Forum, and her writing has been featured in The Letters Page, Bewildering Stories, The American Journal of Poetry, Pif Magazine, The Blue Nib, Necro Magazine, and Ten Million Flies, among others. Her published work and blog can be viewed at https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/

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