An Updated Forgiveness
by Belinda Roddie
I came out to God on Monday
after you kissed me hard on Sunday,
gripping my thighs as we pressed
ourselves against the wall of the cramped
and brooding confessional. In that stall,
you wore away my chastity, your mouth
hot and firm against my teeth, chafing
the skin beneath my shirt as the organist
practiced an original hymn in the corner
where the pews formed a perfect U.
Your nails had just been done, and they
left red welts on my neck and chest. You
danced for me in a secluded space, curling
your beautiful, serpentine body around
my waist. You were the perfect temptress:
Satan would be envious of your technique.
And yet, there I was, enjoying every minute
of your curves, of your sighing words, of
your lips and nose and breasts, all warm
in the cold of Lazarus's tomb. Revived,
I knelt in the church the next day, hoping
that the tattoos you left would fade
away before my mom noticed and my dad
made a stink at the dinner table after I'd faked
my way through another grace. "Here I am,
Father." He called out to me like Abraham,
reaching out His stigmata hands to hold
my own and cool the flames on my forehead.
I wanted to tell Him, "Lord, I'm gay," the fever
like the devil burning all the way down to
my swollen feet, and my wish was to have
Him keep me in His holy gaze and say,
It's okay, my child. It's okay.
It's okay. It's okay.