he’s not said a thing; it makes me wonder who your lord
is looking at. Look at you: your hatred, so easily provoked
by tenderness. Hold your tongue, neighbor. Hold it how
a lover holds a partner’s hand: eager to know more, ready
to listen. Neighbor, hands are the only gods I have known.
Since Momma lifted me tenderly into an imperfect world,
many clasped hands have urged me to leave it. The palms
of my sister: smaller but much stronger than mine, ready
to receive me should the world cast me out. I do not want
forgiveness for my love, nor the reaches I make. Instead,
neighbor, let me plant myself under the wide-reaching sun.
Go on: gander. Shout your loud at the red dirt that grows us.
Ask your god if I deserve the chance to grow now that you
know what you know. Watch the rain wash my spirit clean
of things we ought never to have believed. Wait to see me
picked with intention, as carefully as the camellias bloom—
taken home by the sweet hands of a woman who’ll not care
about your uncareful mouth. Look at us; tell us we’ll answer
for our sins; but neighbor, we will only answer to the sky.
Rachel Nix is an editor for cahoodaloodaling, Hobo Camp Review, and Screen Door Review. Her own work has appeared in Juke Joint, L’Éphémère Review, Pidgeonholes, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She resides in Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people rather nicely, and can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter.