Forbes and Fifth

on self-fulfilling prophecies

on self-fulfilling prophecies  

the day the Lutheran church burnt down on main and hartgrove 

we starved ourselves in the parking lot 

you didn’t care for architecture, the principle 

and I resented religion, the lines, the structure 

calling out to God when I knew Him already 

God is a man who pushes you against concrete 

religion is knowing the back of a hand is different than the palm 

one is cool, soft, and  

one is a stinging promise 

but we found time and desire watching the flames soak glass  

and you loved me when my elbow nicked brick walls 

you pushed me up against.  

I moaned like I felt something until 

every saint floating out in smoke 

through God’s house, our house 

would not tell me you were wrong 

not if my body were your hymnal 

 

not wrong if past transgressions made you right when screaming nights turned into blood  

not wrong when your mother smiled at me: she likes me, I know  

you had her brown eyes, veiled by a curtain of lashes,  

yet to find deceit.  

it never crossed my mind   

that eyes could lie,  

spit me up and chew me out and never call it what it was. 

 

would it comfort you? if I told the truth? 

you possessed me with half-truths and half-promises.  

each day I watched our church reignite 

until it became the story behind my eyes. 

did you know what you could do? did you think of the consequences? 

a guilty conscience, barraging my mind with thoughts of acquittal.  

 

when the court said you were free to go, 

the Devil came to me through a lie of healing.  

Satan is a woman who becomes her abuser 

I fear commitment, the threats, the structure.  

 

… 

he is new to me and far from you. 

he is a year of psalms singing to my flight response  

half as innocent as me 

I will control what I cannot understand and then leave him  

looking up from the floor 

it’s all wrong, Mary tells him 

(she could see what I was.) 

 

yet before the fear could even line 

his wide, blue eyes 

he knew that I 

would let you take the blame for this.  

Volume 20, Spring 2022