Adriana Vaca

a brief return to catholicism

i say nothing through parted lips

as i hear the voice of my father,

curtained through dewy eyelashes,

as he looks at wet thighs and prays.


but i don’t go to church anymore.

i haven’t seen the stained glass,

felt the splintered pews in years.

haven’t licked my fingers

like i saw the school teachers do,

flipping thin pages of hymn books. 


yet this language isn’t foreign:

soon i too become one who looks

at wet thighs and prays. moving

like theirs, my lips return

to muscle memory.


the entrance of father pete,

with bilingual cracked lips

halts the misty-faced violence.

his sermon is generic like ads

mailed with the names filled

into the template blanks last.


pack away her summer shoes, 

sweaters. throw away the hotel

shampoo bottles. save the collection

of small silver spoons, look at them

too often. take them out of their case

gently, cradle one in your palm and see

yourself distorted in its reflection.


the collective tongue prays no longer.

we take turns being individuals,

whispering to absence. when i

press my lips to her forehead,

it’s not warm anymore.

bum bum

when my hands and feet

were smaller, and the air was uninterrupted,the shades drawn,


and i began to fall asleep,with my head pressed tight against the pillow, i thought that the steady beat in my ears

bum bum

were tiny bacteria  m a r c h i n g,in tiny uniforms and proportionaltiny army caps, off to battlesome other type of bacteria in uniforms of a different color to avoid confusion.

bum bum bum

the more intensely i eavesdropped,the quicker their tiny steps became,as if they knew i was on to them.


i’d take deep  s   l   o   w  breaths

and pretend that i was sleeping,and their march shifted,matching my exhales.bum bumby the next morning, i knew i certainly had them fooled.

intimate space where Adriana created poetry above

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