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 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, Cajun Mutt Press, Terror House Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Ten Million Flies, among others. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by North Central Texas College's English Department and is currently working on a children's book called The Boogerman. Her published work and blog can be viewed at https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/, and her visual artwork and music can be viewed on YouTube under Kaci and Bryant.