A Sacrament Past (Revision)

So, I’ve been neglecting this blog because my third semester of grad school came into play, and the at-home portion is all about writing an extended critical essay of 20+ pages, so I’ve been in research mode rather than creative mode. That puts me a bit outside my comfort zone, but I really do love my ECE topic (Love Whispers its Name: Encoding and Euphemism as Manifest in the Poetry of Select LGBT Poets of the 20th Century), and four of the books I’m sourcing have already arrived, so the panic level is decreasing. This poem is a revised version which came out of this residency’s workshop.


A Sacrament Past

My first prayer, one for survival–
now I lay me down to disregard
as Daddy drinks deeply from amber
bottles on the bed of his pickup
and Mommy kneels to scour
the linoleum, hair veiling her
constant glances toward the door.

Come tomorrow, we will take our places,
wearing our proverbial best
among the good people. Mommy will worry
the wrinkles from our costumes,
Daddy will look at me again
and tell me that, yes, this Sunday is another
Grape Juice and Crackers Day,
so I have to wear a tie.

He shows me how
we knot it about our throats,
ignoring any necessary tightness.

The original version:


A Sacrament Past


The first prayer I knew was one for survival.

Now I lay me down

to disregard–


Watch your Saturday morning cartoons.

Mommy and Daddy need to talk.


Take communion, son. Now.

It’s Sunday, we’re all here

in our proverbial best.


The collar? Ignore any necessary tightness,

under the circumstances.

Not my will, but What is thine, Daddy?


Shh. Suffer this

small thing. He wills it,

you know.


Dogs wear theirs with far less fuss.


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