Doxology

On Sunday morning,
the dusty organ tune
gradually modulates
from the offering hymn,
accompaniment of sacrifice,
as dry hands place freshly sealed envelopes
into cold gold plates lined with velvet,
to the doxology,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We all stand and the pews creak with our shifting weight
to acknowledge the holiness of our gifts.
As I harmonize the Amen, Plagal cadence,
the organist’s skillful transformation
of D flat to G major
whispers
that I, too, can
modulate from
anything
to praise.

why did you stay?

why did you stay?

He grabbed
my waist
and told me
he liked my lip ring,
and then kissed it.

I said,
“no, please,
just come lay with me.”
I wore a white comforter,
and we held hands
on the couch
at 6:30
on a Sunday morning.

A train when by
the window
and he ordered me
around the bedroom
in a way that
I mistook for
romance.

He left
granola out on the table
for me,
and honey.
“You’ve overcome
so much,”
he said.

He held
me in his lap
and I touched
his sweaty neck
while he exhaled
and told me his secrets.

He told me
my writing
reminded him of
a certain British philosopher.

I misunderstood,
“I know we
should
let this go, but I
still
want to kiss
you.”

I saw a
pink hair tie
on his nightstand
but
excused it for
a rubberband.

The man before him
told me that I couldn’t
wear tight pants
or make up
because other men
would look at me,
so this kind of violence
seemed more romantic.

I am used to
lies,
and his, at least, came with
honey on his hands when
he held me down,
sticky sweetness on his lips when
he said,

“No wonder this is so hard for you.”

New York

“I came here to see it…”
they say she is a city full of
all those good things
opportunity
success
adventure
love

bright lights
mean I can learn to
be bright again too

“…with new eyes…”
like reading your same favorite book
the same time again each year
and realizing how different you are
each time you encounter it
I am a new creature now
in a way I wasn’t
last time I saw her
this time I need this wildness
my body craves her streets
her crowded subways
her tall towers packed together
her old and new juxtaposed

“…and feel it.”
she taught me that I can still do this
that my tenacity is still intact
that I can move beyond merely enduring
that I can get drunk on wine
with my parents and take a
late night walk through the West Village
that I can write my phone number
on a napkin and slide it across
the bar to a British man
that I can take a cab through
the city alone and confidently
get where I’m going

“It’s up to you, New York.”
she was the climax
of a summer of adventures
to remember where my core is
among all this debris
because New York knows
what it’s like to try to
find yourself again
among debris
and rise from it in the most
poetic and heart wrenching of ways