I imagine how soft the hands must have been
to crush supple, christened grapes into wine,
and I sip for longer, staring down the Deacon;
avert my eyes from the wrinkles that find
some hand between, a drop of wine on the palm,
pushing the lifeless red to lips, mine.
With the wood of the pews touching bare thigh
and someone either side of me, I pray, silently,
for the ghosts of the Vestal Virgins who were, too,
boxed into Heavenly pastures, to come and sing,
with cherry-wine mouths, that Hell will be most glorious.
I wish women were priests, and think of how tempting
it must have been for Eve to find gentleness
when Adam touched his remaining ribs - the beauty
of self, she must have eaten an abundance of fruits
grown from male seed, before the apple speaks of tenderness,
of the mirror that shows herself. The cruelty of the snake
burns, and Hell bleeds as punishment for unwritten crime.
But how beautiful it is, to think that God exists!
To think of him lying dead, splayed out,
or perhaps curdling into spoiled milk, festering
in the fetal position, plumes of Papal smoke
encompassing his body, the smell of stale cigarettes
and spilled wine, and a congregation chorus-echo of Last Rites.
I have never been sure how to worship, only the imperative
of the verb - to worship - to allow God to enter wherever he pleases
and to leave wildly, like horses trampling across northern grass.
I have known for as long as I have held privy to thought
that my body is not my own, I must open the gateway to my vessel
and let him free me from sin; Lord, help me,
but I keep finding God in the eyes of a woman.
Finding her at a crossroads is like finding myself in the dark,
forbidden, and the easiest thing my hands have ever led me to do,
except I can no longer recall whether any hymns sung of Eve;
temptation crowns her legacy and we remain treated this way,
like grapes, and there is power beyond omnipotence in accepting
that if we are going to be crushed, we may as well hitch our last breaths
on the lips of women, praying, eternally, for God’s eyes
to have been burned out by his own, masculine light.
From a collection of poetry I wrote for a creative writing portfolio in second year of university, titled 'New Rugged Cross'.