her ribs ache from an oversized white acolytic robe

cinched tightly around an adolescent waist

in an attempt to attract the attention

of a boy, half awake, waiting for his cue to present

a goblet of bloodless wine to the shaking lips of ancient sinners


as they’ve done for years, they take turns pulling a fraying rope

to ring a rusted bell early each morning

her back overarching slightly with each toll,

suddenly conscious of his gaze, curious if he wonders

what else she is capable of

outside the dusty cathedral they call home


furtive glances over psalms and coloring pages

are lost in the muffled sounds

of thin-voiced sopranos reaching for their god’s ears

with droning melodic prayers


what does it mean to grow up

with the eyes of a judging congregation

always on your back?

Submitted: November 07, 2020

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Poem / Poetry


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