my earliest memory is of walking down the
linoleum aisle of St. Mary’s chapel
mother on one side; father on the other
their dewy-eyed toddler in between
a worn, blistered palm in each hand
i clung to them like sickly tobacco on the lips
of some rancorous addict, persistent and biting;
viscid smog that weaves through the breath of heretics
there, we knelt at the altar of His deceptive seraph
murmuring whispered hymns of faux conviction
“oh, father art thou in great heaven
relieve us from our sin and this endless bereavement”
but god stays silent, choosing to keep His ethereal form
sheltered; a spectral pillar held by wisps of transient desperation
impatient as any young child would be, the itch to rouse
grew and grew and finally tore me from my worship
i took a peek from the corner of my eye,
watched as my father basked in the fading daylight
weeping, as if struck by a poison arrow to his nape
myself only regarding in dither as perdition’s curare set in
he clung to his prayer like a newborn fawn to its mother;
blindly mewling for solace as the lightning stokes flames
and felt those tears cascade as palatial breakers,
razing requiems of the living in murky depths below.

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