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.