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Submissions From Aerie 2012
The thick darkness of a room
adorns with a silken haze,
a pair of naked bodies.
Too dark to see a face
the young stranger slinks into bed.
feverent fingers graze
a nose, a chin, a pair of
lips left cracked and feeble from dehydration.
Saliva cools on a breast–
The sweet scent of juniper and lime.
Two sequestered souls sipping the nighttime
between shifting smiles and averted gases. He thinks
flourescent illusions, but damn, she's beautiful.
Twilight's long gone and midnight's rising,
thumbs caressing palms and awkward kisses,
her red tresses illuminating the diner stale.
It's quarter to twelve. The last stranger sits across
from them, the nighttime meets the porcelain.
He strikes his watch and forgets his loss.
Streets for miles, but this avenue stays the same–
nothing but street lamps strangulating the starlight
and old bums bumming cigarettes to warm their beards.
Phillies, the last midnight diner; city lights
flourescing with American modesty, white standard
hat slipping to the side: the diner man.
It's quarter past twelve. . . . They smile.
Keep it dark, real midnight.
Thank you for wiping my ass.
I hope you washed your hands after.
The new diaper was great too.
I still hate being itchy.
Thanks for dealing with my friends
Smoking in (stinking up) the yard,
Drinking in (spilling on) the porch,
and pissing on our oak.
And especially for not getting mad
when we cut down that oak.
Thank you for fixing
my car and taking me to rehab
after the drunk asshole
ran a red and broke my back.
The pain will go away
Eventually. Hopefully. One day.
In The Name of the Father, Son, and Scary Spirit: Amen, an excerpt
Leigh-Anna's bed was bigger than mine, and her family kept their central air on much higher than mine did. After a full day of playing in her back yard, making up cheers under the southern sun, we were settling into bed for the sleepover portion of our play date. I sprawled out and touched my cheecks, which stung from the face cleaner we'd both used as a treat before getting into pajams. Leigh-Anna crawled into bed on my left side, and I rolled over on to my right arm to sleep, my back to Leigh-Anna. As we lay in the dark, the vent sending a light breeze over my hair, I heard Leigh-Anna whisper something into the darkness. I rolled onto my back and leaned in closer to listen to her as she repeated her question.
"Have you been saved from sin by our Lord, Jesus Christ?"
I froze in the darkness. "What do you mean?" I asked. I knew that Leigh-Anna was a Baptist, as nearly everyone in our Charlotte neighborhood was. I went to Catholic church most Sundays with my parents, but I'd nevrer invested anything in the teachings once I left the building after the service. What could I need to ask Jesus for that he wouldn't give me for just going about my own business?
Leigh-Anna began to murmur, "You have to ask God to forgive you of your sins. You have to ask for His lofe or He'll send you to Hell."
A chill swept over me and my throat closed up with tears as I insisted that I was a good kid, and that God wouldn't send me to Hell.
"No," Leigh-Anna assured me. Being good wasn't good enough. "You have to tell Him that you want His forgiveness. Ask Him for forgiveness!"
Right then and there, I clasped my hands together under the covers and said a silent prayer in my head. "Please God, I'll be good. Forgive me, I'll be good!" Then, crying, I went to call my mom to come and take me home.
[. . .]
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