I was eight when I shuffled into the front room
with my fluttering fingers like birds
tugging at my own shirtsleeves. I told you, blushing,
how I’d pledged allegiance to the God of your serpents and stone walls.
I thought you were passionate and pious, my parent. I was eight,
and I had so much to learn. Like when I
was twelve and branching into my body.
You spat on my splintering limbs and cackled, ironic,
like a witch. Ironic because
you burnt me at the stake, in pieces.
Months later I buried my own remains
in a shoebox. I hope my ghost haunts that house.
You’d sneer to know that sixteen was the last time I stepped into a house
of worship. Since then I’ve stepped into myself. Body Electric
my bible. I wonder at my own wounds,
miraculous scarring of the sutures. I am risen! I know I
will rise and rise again. Your dove and olive branch
fooled me once. I take peace, instead
in the phoenix and its forgiving flames. I used to be so afraid
of fire, rememb