Christian Love for the Godless Ghost

Thu, 10/10/2013 - 17:25 -- mscuroe

When I am twelve my cousins

   ask why I never go to church

Because I don't believe in God

   I qualify   a Judeo-Christian one    that is

they gape   the lack of God

   new in the way a thorn is

the first time it enters your foot


6:36 a.m.   my parents receive a call

   Dad's sister shrieks about their heathen child

who denounced the existence of God and apparently

   Santa Clause

mutter a denial of the second

   Mom's disappointed   I thought we agreed not to talk

about religion with them


She keeps copies of Ravenwolf and Starhawk

   next to King James    a present from childhood

to see which one bursts into flame

   I read the book of pagan children's stories

until the spine cracks   pages of song and dream

   fall out


Christmas   cold shoulders

   hard eyed aunts who greet me

then turn to talk about interior decorating

   Christian love for the godless ghost


Years   my siblings drift with me

   a plastic table just for us

games just for us

   fewer presents   just for us


John 6:36 open in my lap

   Judge not   forgive and you

will be forgiven

   hours spent in a basement corner

with carved bars digging into my back

   little brother's fingers on my arm

sick from rich food and loneliness


Rosary nights and Easter blessings

   the Lord is not my shepherd

I am not a sheep   closed eyes

   Dad   can we please go home


When I am seventeen    planning

   a trip to Japan I ask for money

they hand over hundreds

   we're so proud of you

they look at me for the first time

   in years


6:36   my armor against hypocrisy

   that drove me to cutting

hair to the quick with nerveless hands


When I was twelve I gave up nothing for Lent

   except my family and love

meant for lips closed against the Body and the Blood

   and bitter tirades


Still searching

   for forgiveness


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