The preacher’s daughter lives hard, her hatred

making a trembling point out of her chin,

her father comes into her room and offers her

a kind of salvation that burns red-hot,

she presses it into the skin of her palm until

she chars a cross beneath her fingers;


They imagine her praying in a dark room,

a red-haired fetish doll, hands pushed together

as though in offering, she drinks bravery

like communion wine, all the boys hear that

she fucks like a seraphate, makes love like

retribution touching ground, they ask if

I have heard about the preacher’s daughter;


We lie in the grass, mid-October leaves above

our heads, she says: My Father was a man of God,

and her voice capitalizes both, one of her hands

traces bible verses along the skin of my shoulder;

my father was a democrat, my father believed

that something easy was not something worth doing,

how could he say that, and then give up on me?


She said: My Father believed in Heaven

more desperately than I have ever believed in anything

I asked if that included me, she lit a match

and held it in front of a white-out scar

on her hand, she said: my body is a continent

at war, my left hand is cerberus, my right hand

breaks crosses, and I am still afraid

of what religion will do to my body, when I

am too weak to fight back.