Place it on my tongue and wait
for it to dissolve—

It will leave the taste of chalk.
This is supposed to absolve me—
supposed to purify my sin.

But your fingerprint remains,
pressed into my drying tongue
as I wait with open mouth and eyes

closed tight so I don’t see what comes.
You were supposed to protect me—
supposed to love me forever.

Isn’t that what we are taught?
When they sat us down on wooden
benches with hymnals tucked
into pockets—never used—
because you know all the words?


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