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h o l y / w a r

McKenzie Chinn

that the sight of my bare thigh might ever be more threat
than god dream sounds like a you problem.

if my mere thigh might render
any action you’d take unholy, maybe

your mama forgot to teach you something.
let’s call it what it is:

that the glory of just my thigh
is so great, it makes you want children.

the glory of just my thigh
makes a praise dance rise within you, and

how it breaks me
that a praise dance in anyone could become so grotesque,

can contort into a war you’d wage
on a body that would open itself

like some soil tilled in a promised land,
a body that would bear you forth in perpetuity.

eve ain’t caused adam to fall. the man made a choice
and would chose the same again, and

fuck an apple, he would’ve walked barefoot
over a field of thorns if it meant her breath soft in his ear,

her heart alive against his, and
his hand in prayer against her thigh.

helen’s face ain’t launched 1,000 ships;
men’s foolishness did that.

i want this body and all it renders possible—
the dance, the gather, the bend, the bringing forth—

to be your church. let a reverence
for all i encompass found your new religion.

learn to love what i make move within you
like you love the sun which gives you life.

do not become war
because my thigh is so great.

McKenzie is a poet, actor, and curator whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Crabfat Magazine, The Fem, Juked, Rogue Agent Journal and others. She has performed her poetry throughout Chicago, including for The Fly Honey Show and in conjunction with the nationally touring exhibition Art, AIDS, America. She is one third of Growing Concerns Poetry Collective with whom she will record an album this summer. She has performed as an actor both on camera and on stages across Chicago including Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and The Goodman Theatre where she is also a teaching artist. She lives in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.