Today's poem is by Tasha Golden

the girls

their lips were blooming, purple
tongues and specks along their cheeks
and on their narrow shoulders, propped
on stacks of ribs and tiny breasts. they smelled
of cherries and detergent, smoothed
their skirts over their knees.

but when it came to bibles,
deacons, pews,
apostles, priests, oh god

the girls were flesh and curve
all woman, eagerness and fever,
fingers dextrous, mouths lit up
in practiced ovals; when it came
to altars, parables, to shame and ash
the girls knew what to do with them—
with thick and throbbing despotism—
curtsy, psalm, and penitent admission
of their sins.

the girls were solemn: shy contrition,
tender on their tongues, wore out
their jaws and knees imagining
their bodies bawdy, hot
unholy wolves in cotton rags.
the girls, so they were told,
each had a gaping god-shaped hole
that god would fill if they believed,
he'd make them pure—body and soul.     and so

the girls lay white and wide awake
at night, a damp uncertain ache
their thighs clamped trembling shut, afraid
he might just come, or not, afraid
he'd rise engorged from ancient graves
and find his foolish virgins, shake
and climb their bones and branches, break
his silence with a kiss.

but it would never come to this.
that god, that hole, did not exist.

Copyright © 2016 Tasha Golden All rights reserved
from Once You Had Hands
Humanist Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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