How to Disappoint Your Catholic Grandmother by Alejandro Lucero
The hardest part will be saying it out
loud. Atheist. The rosary may slip
through her fingers, but the word will
pierce your palms. Not her who devoted
your life to saints before
your sex was even known.
Do not apologize. Remember pain
is neither above nor below you.
This jagged stone, trembling
in your throat like an Adam’s apple,
needs to dislodge. Your teeth may chip
as you enunciate the t’s, but you’ll
learn to say it without a stutter- Atheist.
It’s going to feel like some skin
is missing. She might even smell the
iron in your flesh. Then nakedness
and the feeling of not feeling shame.
She may see you as dirty, believe you
to be starved, think you are shoeless.
Kindly decline any shoes she hands you.
If you eat her bread, remember it is only
yeast and flour and a little dirt that comes
and goes like a sparrow’s morning song or sand
drifting over a single set of evening footprints.
You will still attend baptisms, her funeral,
and all which comes between.
Kneeling happily in chestnut rows.
You’re inflammable now. Don’t
worry. There’s nothing left to burn.