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 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.
A child. A crime.
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.

Image credit:Максим Власенко

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn's Disease. She grew up on a small farm in a Texas town alongside many furry friends, two sisters, and a brother. She has known tragic loss too well, and her writing, which is often dark and honest, is a reflection of the shadows lurking in her psyche. Her work can be viewed at:https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/, and her visual artwork and music can be viewed on YouTube under Kaci and Bryant.