Lamentation For Leaving The Church

all the unborn allelujahs           still and silent               the body

broken             but bread no longer reaching     my mouth      gold

cross hanging empty    its gilded assurance suspended

in the dark and neck less          barely there      another

Erica bows her head       and waits for a sign         former self still 

full of a certain faith    this chest pressed         full of holy

ghosts              shaken down for good measure           shivering

hearth that once blazed            with tongues                the language

of incandescent favor              and angels        unbridled

jaw galloping and glorious       head thrown back        wild

keeling wind    at my back       before and behind me          hands

lifting               so light             every burden no longer

mine    my body a temple        a tempter         an atonement   no

nothing my god       this blood couldn’t buy back        from the grave

offer me again sanguine life unending            born           again

promise           canopied from each limb         the deathbed’s posts

queer tree         sing of a sacrificial season        second chances

resurrecting all I’ve buried       I want to believe in burning

stars     holy invisible                in the too-bright   blue of mourning

teach me to trust the sky            vaulting silence          pierced

with unseen light         I push fists in my eyes      and they appear

vacant              open this wound          where I once buried prayer

xéno seed sunk deep in this earth         god’s sun not forgotten

I yearn for another home         a germ of hope      my vining tongue 

zealous for fruit           its skin   these lips        studded with thorns. 

Erica Charis-Molling is a poet, educator, and librarian. Her writing has been published in Crosswinds, Presence, Glass, Anchor, Vinyl, Entropy, and Mezzo Cammin and is forthcoming in Redivider. She’s an alum of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University. She currently lives in Boston, where she works as Education Director for Mass Poetry.