Mackenzie Cook

I find myself in telling
speaking from a dead woman’s mouth
she forms “God”
I spit it out “gay”
this woman is still
looming over her own bed
staring down at my grandmother who tells her
“Mama, you are the most beautiful woman
more beautiful than the sun.”
than the silk scarves draped over the bed
to pay for last month’s cans of cranberry sauce
last month’s dues to a
false church- the kind that preys on
eyes like hers and hers and mine.

I find myself in crying
spilling tears from a dead woman’s eyes
still green as the aphids
she learned to pick one by one
from her tomato plants,
scrape their juices on the
clay pots’ edges-
queer magic circles.
“if only we could be gay,”
she screams at the screen door,
I whisper back, “we are,
but not in the ways you crave.”

I find myself in penance
sitting in a dead woman’s stomach
she hungers for God but
I fill her gut with “sorry”
“I am sorry I killed my grief
before you crawled up your grave,”
I read tarot in the voice of All Mothers;
seek holiness in the solemn face of the moon.

Mackenzie Cook is a freshman at Trinity University from Cypress, Texas. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and has previously been published in Midwestern University’s literary and arts magazine Voices, CICADA, Blue Marble Review, and Lithium Magazine.

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