I keep my nails
I mourn what is in its path.
This congregation full of wax museum statues, and God still wants us
kneeling. He’s burned part of the church down, which is to say
a part of us. Imagine if we, too, fell—fell under the spell of the light
coming from his grapevine arms, through his fingernails acting as
the matches we light on Advent wreathes. Even the burned
would get haloes around their heads. Our ghosts, bouncing off walls
made from sterile ash to ash to the ash we haven’t claimed yet.
It's not every day that Our Lady burns, says a père to his son
baptized, now, by fire. You are an artifact. I shall shove you away
before your stained-glass eyes shatter in front of my own.
SHREYA VIKRAM is a writer based in India. She is the recipient of the Dorothy West Scholarship 2020. Her work is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, GHLL, Salmon Creek Journal and elsewhere. You can find more of her writing at shreyavikram.com