Afer the Holy Sonnets
A blond girl looks at me from her pew.
Her lips are pink and full.
Her mother sits next to her:
a wizened, bronze creature.
Her daughter kicks her legs
in tempo to the sermon. She snaps
her purse open and shut. She taps
the floor with her heel.
Her mother places a steel
hand across her knees to halt
her kicks. The daughter looks up
at Christ spread out on his Cross
and crosses her flat chest
with one hand. She bends
to kiss her crucifix. Her lips are juice.
Christ hangs around her neck
in chains. Her toes extrude
from splitting sandals. She spits
into her hands and rubs
the salvia around her palms,
until they’re sticky and wet.
She clutches her thighs beneath
her white frock and irons
her legs with a salty hand,
as if nursing a cramp. “Settle down.”
Her mother snaps and looks at me.
Her eyes are battered in mascara.
The rouge has gouged the pink
from her tighter cheeks. Her
pecan breasts indicate a milk-boiling
post pregnancy or a direct scalpel:
uplifting, enlightening, erecting.
Christ, the superstar pauses on his cross.
The mother leans over to whisper
to her daughter, exhibiting
a pigment spotted wrist
Her daughters’ wrists are boneless.
her daughter blows my daughter a kiss.
Christ, our white blue-eyed cross-burner
stares at us on Sunday
from his spread-eagled pose.
As skinny as father without his clothes.
As blind as mother with her new nose.
I wrote this poem at Florida State. I wrote this poem in the middle of the night, and tinkered with it on off for about year.
It’s told from two perspectives, the 1st voice is from the mind of a child molester, or would-be-child-molester who is watching a girl who sits across the pew from him at church on Sunday. The 2nd voice is from the young girl the child molester is watching while they are attending a church service in Florida.
The last stanza is very Theodore Roethke-esque, it is a lost ode to him–hidden in the verse. I hope my Theodore reads this poem in the multi-string universe.