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.

 

A list of the places where my writing has appeared or is forthcoming:

 

Imposter: A Poetry Journal, Sunday Mornings at the River, Horror Sleaze Trash, Intangible Magazine, Door Is A Jar, Voices of Fire, Outlander Zine, Fahmidan Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, The Letters Page, Terror House Magazine, Bewildering Stories, Unlikely Stories, Anti-Heroin Chic, Red Fez, The Bollman Bridge Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, Capsule Stories Cajun Mutt Press, Levitate, Harbor Review, The Charles Carter, Fragmented Lines, Written Tales, Kiss My Poetry, Rough Cut Press, Eighteen-Seventy, Ten Million Flies, Open Arts Forum, The Broken Spine, Necro Magazine, Pif Magazine, Otherwise Engaged Literary and Arts Journal, Nod Magazine, Ponder Savant, Sleet Magazine, Goat Milk Magazine, Memoryhouse Magazine, Martin Lake Journal, 50 Haikus, Sub Rosa Zine, and Former People.