On the anniversary of your expulsion / I visit the church for a mixture of penance / and breath, offering a streak of grief / over the station of flames of the Madonna Della Strada / The moment I enter, I see the crimson mouths of the idols / passion-tide veils to cover the sorrows of the mother I renounced / as a practice and a title / despite memorizing the grainy shape of a heartbeat I couldn’t keep / out of desperation / I was raised out of desperation and my back still curves in habit / of being my mother’s crutch / I refused to hit repeat while my axis was still trying to find / how to balance the damage / I refused to bear a circumstance instead of an altar / of love between bounds of flesh that have grown away from each other / I loved you, but I worshiped fear and fear / told me the currency of a half-love with the seed that formed you / equals a death I didn’t want to form in the flesh / better to drain you into crimson before you formed hands / that would touch my rib cage and pull me into forever / tethered to all the ways I would disappoint you / I loved you as I sat with pills pressed to the side of my cheeks / the choice of a prolonged ruin over the stirrups of a empty-handed standard procedure / I cried over porcelain blemished / with the eyes you'll never form / On the first anniversary I sat / pulling the skin on the back of my hands / the second, you met your grandfather in a zion I am / too numb to enter / and now I kneel in front of the covered face of la madre unbosoming / a grief I don't have permission to claim _ Originally published in War Crimes Against the Uterus, 2019