Another Poem About God but Really, It’s About Me
You would’ve made a lousy nun, the woman
on the A train says to the person on the other end
of the phone. I laugh to no one and imagine
what a lousy nun would actually do — maybe sneak
a lover into her room on Ash Wednesday or take
off her wedding ring from God, let the sun
touch the unveiled skin. I was never
a nun, but I was called Sister, and Brothers
were not allowed to do more than shake
my hand. I was called daughter when the pastor
kissed my cheek, when I was worth more than rubies.
I was a good Sister for a decade — I was
good. After I left, I still prayed to all the Fathers
who weren’t mine. I opened my mouth
to their wisdom, and in my tongue was the law
of kindness. I became their Mary
Magdalene — holy by day, whore by night —
perfuming the feet of every man named
Jesus. After I left, I stayed devout —
devout to recklessness, devout to taking
out my virgin. I don’t remember craving
anything so much as my own destruction.
It was beautiful to watch from the bleachers
of my mind, separating myself from
all the Sisters inside me. In Proverbs,
it is virtuous for a woman to work willingly
with her hands. I only wanted to bring virtue
unto my name when I held each new body in my palms.
I only wanted to bring virtue when I hid
in the bathroom, slapped my face.
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